Adult normal volunteers (n = 11 male and n = 9 female) were studied in a stress-minimized inpatient setting on three consecutive days, after intravenous saline, naltrexone HCl (10 mg), or nalmefene HCl (10 mg), in fixed order. ACTH, cortisol, and prolactin were analyzed pre-injection and up to 180 min post-injection.
Naltrexone and nalmefene caused elevations in ACTH and cortisol compared with saline. Nalmefene had a greater effect on ACTH and cortisol, compared with naltrexone. Both compounds also caused elevations in prolactin in males (females were not examined, due to the influence of menstrual cycle on prolactin).
This study suggests that both nalmefene and naltrexone have effects potentially due to κ-partial agonism in humans, as well as antagonist effects at μ-receptors.
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