To determine whether sublingual naloxone could precipitate withdrawal in opioid-dependent subjects, naloxone was administered in increasing doses (0-8 mg in four or six sessions conducted over 2 days) to six heroin abusers and three methadone (30 mg/day, p.o.) maintenance patients. Two or three sessions were conducted per day with 2- to 2.5-h intervals between sameday sessions. Naloxone precipitated withdrawal in two of six heroin abusers and in all three methadone subjects. Naloxone is sufficiently absorbed sublingually to precipitate abstinence in dependent subjects, but naloxone doses up to 1-2 mg can be administered sublingually to opioid abusers/addicts without precipitating withdrawal. © 1990.
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