The apomorphine test in heroin addicts

MIGUEL CASAS, JOSEP GUARDIA, GEMMA PRAT, JOAN TRUJOLS

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    11 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Chronic administration of opiates to laboratory animals induces supersensitivity of the dopamine receptors in the cerebral areas innervated by the mesotelencephalic dopamine pathways. In humans, the in vivo study of the sensitivity of the dopamine neurotransmitter system in Parkinson's patients can be done by means of the apomorphine test, which consists of measuring the number of yawns induced by the subcutaneous administration of low doses of apomorphine (0.005 mg/kg). If chronic opiate use in humans, as in experimental animals, results in supersensitivity of the dopamine systems, the apomorphine test could differentiate between heroin addicts and healthy volunteers, with the former showing greater number of yawns. In order to test this hypothesis we carried out the apomorphine lest in two groups of subjects: a group of male heroin addicts attending our Addiction Treatment Centre for detoxification and the other group consisting of healthy volunteer male university students. Results showed that subcutaneous apomorphine administration induced a greater number of yawns (p < 0.05) in the group of heroin addicts as compared with the group of healthy volunteers, suggesting that heroin addicts present an enhanced sensitivity of the dopamine neurotransmitter system. Copyright © 1995, Wiley Blackwell. All rights reserved
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)831-835
    JournalAddiction
    Volume90
    Issue number6
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1995

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