Discriminative stimulus and antinociceptive effects of dihydroetorphine in rhesus monkeys
The tolerance to analgesia and dependence liability of dihydroetorphine following topical application were investigated in hairless rats with and without formalin-induced inflammation. The analgesic effect of dihydroetorphine (s.c.) was 4600- to 7200-fold more potent than that of morphine. In non-inflamed rats, the analgesic effect of 24-h topical application of dihydroetorphine tape (35 microg) and 4-day repeated tape applications (20 microg/5 h/day) decreased with time after the start of application, even though the plasma dihydroetorphine concentrations did not decrease. In formalin-inflamed rats, however, the tolerance to analgesia diminished. Naloxone-precipitated weight loss was observed after 24-h infusion of dihydroetorphine but not after the tape application in non-inflamed rats. A significant rewarding effect was found in the non-inflamed rats conditioned by s.c. injection and tape application but not in the formalin-inflamed rats. These results indicate that topical application of dihydroetorphine has a tolerance and dependence liability when there is no pain, and therefore, it should be used only for pain relief.