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Diagnosis and Treatment |

Drugs Five Years Later: Naloxone

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▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to William R. Martin, M.D.; National Institute on Drug Abuse, Addiction Research Center; P.O. Box 12390; Lexington, KY 40511.

Lexington, Kentucky

Ann Intern Med. 1976;85(6):765-768. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-85-6-765
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Narcotic analgesics and related drugs act as agonists on several receptors that are responsible for their effects on pain perception, mood and feeling state, and respiration, as well as other pharmacologic actions. Naloxone is the first discovered antagonist that is devoid of agonistic activity and appears to be a competitive antagonist at several receptors. The ability of naloxone to displace or prevent the binding of agonistic narcotics is partly responsible for its antagonistic effects. The ability of naloxone to rectify narcotic-depressed homeostats and precipitate abstinence is also related to its antagonistic activity. Certain cautions and principles apply in the use of naloxone in treating narcotic overdose, reversing surgical analgesia, and the treatment of neonates and children. Unapproved uses of naloxone include reversing the psychotomimetic effects of certain agonists-antagonists, terminating narcotic-induced convulsions and coma, reversing non-narcotic depression, diagnosing physical dependence, and treating narcotic addicts.







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