Acute and chronic morphine administration in swine

Jack M. Risdahl, Chun Chao, Michael P Murtaugh, Phillip K. Peterson, Thomas W Molitor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Functional responses to acute and chronic morphine administration in domestic swine were examined and correlated with pharmacokinetic profiles. Acute effects of morphine sulfate were monitored in pigs for 24 h and the chronic actions of morphine alkaloid were monitored for 21 days. Serum morphine levels, nociception, locomotor activity, respiratory rate, body temperature, and body weight were monitored during all studies. To assess nociception in a large laboratory animal, a portable thermal stimulating device was constructed. Morphine sulfate administered IV and SC had a half-life of approximately 1 h whereas delayed-release morphine alkaloid delivered SC had a half-life of 28 h. The degree of antinociception paralleled decline in blood morphine levels for both SC- and IV-administered animals. Tolerance occurred to both antinociception as well as weight gain despite morphine levels remaining constant over the 21-day period. Morphine dependence was demonstrated by precipitation of an abstinence syndrome using naloxone. Animals in withdrawal displayed consistent signs, including wet-dog shakes, posture changes, vocalization, and salivation. Collectively, these results indicate that swine may be reliably employed as a model to study the actions of morphine and opiate-like compounds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)799-806
Number of pages8
JournalPharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 1992


  • Dependence
  • Morphine
  • Nociception
  • Opiates
  • Swine
  • Withdrawal


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