, Volume 54, Issue 1, pp 31–33 | Cite as

Naloxone (Narcan®) treatment in depression: Clinical observations and effects on CSF endorphins and monoamine metabolites

  • Lars Terenius
  • Agneta Wahlström
  • Hans Ågren
Original Investigations


Various dysphoric states are seen both in mood depression and on taking opiates. On the hypothesis that opiate antagonists would alter mood level, naloxone (Narcan®), 0.4–0.8 mg t.i.d., was given to five depressed patients in six trials for a duration of 6–12 days. The CSF endorphin and monoamine metabolite content was analyzed before and after naloxone treatment. We observed no positive effect on mood level. However, an abrupt worsening of symptoms was noted in two cases on discontinuation of treatment. Decreasing values of endorphin Fraction I as a result of treatment was noted as a general trend. Fraction II, although elevated, showed no distinct trend. 5HIAA increased in four of the six trials. The results suggest that naloxone treatment changes endorphin and serotonin activity, though not to a clinically observable extent.

Key words

Naloxone Endorphin Depression Cerebrospinal fluid Human subjects 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lars Terenius
    • 1
  • Agneta Wahlström
    • 1
  • Hans Ågren
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Medical PharmacologyUniversity of UppsalaUppsala
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryUniversity HospitalUppsala

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