The dermorphin-derived peptide [Dmt(1)]DALDA (H-Dmt-D-Arg-Phe-Lys-NH(2)), labels mu-opioid receptors with high affinity and selectivity in receptor binding assays. In mouse, radiant heat tail-flick assay [Dmt(1)]DALDA produced profound spinal and supraspinal analgesia, being approximately 5000- and 100-fold more potent than morphine on a molar basis, respectively. When administered systemically, [Dmt(1)]DALDA was over 200-fold more potent than morphine. Pharmacologically, [Dmt(1)]DALDA was distinct from morphine. [Dmt(1)]DALDA displayed no cross-tolerance to morphine in the model used and it retained supraspinal analgesic activity in morphine-insensitive CXBK mice. Supraspinally, it also differed from morphine in its lack of sensitivity towards naloxonazine. Finally, in antisense mapping studies, [Dmt(1)]DALDA was insensitive to MOR-1 exon probes that reduced morphine analgesia, implying a distinct receptor mechanism of action. Thus, [Dmt(1)]DALDA is an interesting and extraordinarily potent, systemically active peptide analgesic, raising the possibility of novel approaches in the design of clinically useful drugs.