An opioid mechanism may help explain hypertensive hypoalgesia. A double-blind placebo-controlled design compared the effects of opioid blockade (naltrexone) and placebo on electrocutaneous pain threshold, pain tolerance, and retrospective McGill Pain Questionnaire ratings in 35 unmedicated patients with essential hypertension and 28 normotensive individuals. The hypertensives experienced less pain than normotensives during the assessment of their pain tolerance; however, this manifestation of hypertensive hypoalgesia was not moderated by naltrexone. These findings fail to support the hypothesis that essential hypertension is characterised by relative opioid insensitivity.
- Endogenous opioids