Enadoline, a selective kappa opioid agonist: Comparison with butorphanol and hydromorphone in humans

S. L. Walsh, E. C. Strain, M. E. Abreu, G. E. Bigelow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

207 Scopus citations


Rationale: The availability of the highly selective and specific kappa opioid agonist enadoline provides an opportunity to explore the function of kappa receptors in humans and their potential utility as a target for substance abuse pharmacotherapy development. Objectives: The purpose of this study was to characterize the pharmacodynamic effects of enadoline, a selective kappa agonist, and to compare it with butorphanol, a mixed mu/kappa agonist, and hydromorphone, a mu agonist, in humans. Methods: Pilot evaluation (n=3) served to establish intramuscular doses of enadoline (20, 40, 80, and 160 μg/70 kg), butorphanol (1.5, 3, 6, and 12 mg/70 kg), and hydromorphone (1.5, 3, and 6 mg/70 kg) of comparable activity. These acute doses were examined under double-blind, placebo-controlled and constrained randomized conditions with a minimum of 72 h between tests in volunteers with polysubstance abuse histories (n=6). Physiological and subject- and observer-rated measures were collected 30 min before and for 4 h after administration. Results: Enadoline significantly increased measures of sedation, confusion and dizziness, produced visual distortions and feelings of depersonalization, and increased urinary output. The highest dose (160 μg/70 kg) was not tolerated and led to psychotomimetic effects. Hydromorphone produced prototypic mu opioid effects including respiratory depression, miosis, and euphoria. Butorphanol was most similar to hydromorphone and shared few effects with enadoline. Conclusions: These results are discussed with respect to the potential use and safety of kappa agonists for clinical indications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-162
Number of pages12
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements The authors thank Paul Nuzzo, Shirley Podgurski, Tim Mudric, and John Yingling for technical and nursing support. We also thank Iona Johnson and Robert Mullen for pharmacy services, and David Ginn, M.D., Ira Liebson, M.D., and the Residential Nursing Staff for medical consultation and supervision. We thank Parke-Davis staff, and especially Dr. Maha Ghazzi, for assistance, donation of enadoline, and supporting the costs of ongoing drug stability testing throughout the study period. This research was supported by U.S. Public Health Services grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse R01-DA 10753 (SLW), K05-DA 00050 (GEB) and T32-DA07209.


  • Butorphanol
  • CI-977
  • Enadoline
  • Human
  • Hydromorphone
  • Kappa opioid
  • Mixed agonist-antagonist
  • Mu opioid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


Dive into the research topics of 'Enadoline, a selective kappa opioid agonist: Comparison with butorphanol and hydromorphone in humans'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this