Buprenorphine reduces cerebral glucose metabolism in polydrug abusers

Sharon L. Walsh, Stephen F. Gilson, Donald R. Jasinski, June M. Stapleton, Robert L. Phillips, Robert F. Dannals, Jennifer Schmidt, Kenzie L. Preston, Roger Grayson, George E. Bigelow, John T. Sullivan, Carlo Contoreggi, Edythe D. London

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Buprenorphine is a mixed opioid agonist-antagonist, which acts as a partial mu agonist and a kappa antagonist. The present study evaluated the acute effects of buprenorphine on cerebral glucose metabolism (CMRglc) in six human substance abusers using a double-blind, placebo-controlled, counterbalanced, crossover design. Each subject participated in two positron emission tomographic (PET) studies, 1 week apart, following the injection of buprenorphine (1 mg, intramuscularly) and placebo. Buprenorphine significantly reduced CMRglc and the regional cerebral metabolic rate for glucose (rCMRglc) by up to 32% in all but three of 22 bilateral and in 4 midline regions (p <.05). No region showed an increase in rCMRglc. Buprenorphine also produced miosis, respiratory depression, and subjective ratings of euphoria and sedation in comparison to placebo (p <.05). These observations extend previous findings of reduced CMRglc following acute treatment with morphine and other nonopioid euphorigenic drugs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-170
Number of pages14
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1994


  • Drug abuse
  • Glucose metabolism
  • Human brain imaging
  • Opioid buprenorphine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Buprenorphine reduces cerebral glucose metabolism in polydrug abusers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this