Pruritus pp 389-392 | Cite as

Opioid Receptor Antagonists or Agonists

  • Laurent MiseryEmail author


Opioids have three receptors in primates: mu (MOR), kappa (KOR) and delta (DOR). Systemic administration of mu agonists produce scratching but kappa agonist or delta agonists do not evoke scratching. Kappa agonists are able to inhibit opioid-induced itch by preventing or reversing it, as well as mu antagonists. As a mu-antagnist, naltrexone is the most commonly used but others could be effective: naoloxone, nalbuphine, nalmefene and butorphanol. The kappa-agonist nalfurafine is approved in Japan for the treatment of itch.


Opioid Kappa receptor Mu receptor 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Neurosciences of Brest, and Department of DermatologyUniversity Hospital, and University of BrestBrestFrance

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