The pharmacodynamics of morphine-6-glucuronide (M-6-G) i.v. were assessed in 12 healthy male volunteers in an open study. After a single bolus dose of M-6-G 5 mg i.v., we measured antinociceptive effects, using electrical and cold pain tests, and plasma concentrations of M-6-G, morphine-3-glucuronide (M-3-G) and morphine. Pain intensities during electrical stimulation (at 30, 60 and 90 min after injection) and ice water immersion (at 60 min) decreased significantly (P < 0.005) compared with baseline. Mean plasma peak concentrations of M-6-G were 139.3 (SD 38.9) ng ml-1, measured at 15 min. Our data demonstrate that M-6-G has significant analgesic activity.