Treatment of experimental stroke with opiate antagonists

Effects on neurological function, infarct size, and survival

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✓ The effects are reported of acute and long-term continuous administration of three opiate antagonists — naloxone, naltrexone, and diprenorphine — on neurological function, survival, and infarct size in a feline model of acute focal cerebral ischemia. All three drugs produced statistically significant improvement in motor function following acute administration without concomitant changes in level of consciousness; saline had no effect. Naloxone and naltrexone significantly prolonged survival (p < 0.01); diprenorphine did not. Infarct size was not altered by any treatment administered. These findings confirm previous work suggesting that, with the appropriate methodology, treatment with opiate antagonists partially reverses neurological deficits. They also show that opiate antagonists prolong survival in certain conditions of acute and subacute focal cerebral ischemia without altering the area of infarcted tissue.

Article Information

Address reprint requests to: David S. Baskin, M.D., Department of Neurosurgery, Baylor College of Medicine, 6501 Fannin, Suite A404, Houston, Texas 77030.

Dr. Grevel was supported in part by the Alexander V. Humboldt Scholarship, Stiftung, Bonn, Germany.

© AANS, except where prohibited by US copyright law.

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