Nasal administration of naloxone for detection of opiate dependence

J Psychiatr Res. 1992 Jan;26(1):39-43. doi: 10.1016/0022-3956(92)90014-f.


In clinical trials, nasally applied naloxone was used to identify opiate dependence in humans for the first time. Withdrawal distress was recorded, and pupillary response, pulse rate and blood pressure measured. A significant increase in withdrawal distress and pupillary dilation was observed after nasal administration of 1mg (1mg/400 microliters) naloxone in all subjects who also showed opiate-positive urine samples. In control subjects, no reaction to naloxone was observed. It may be concluded that the nasal route for naloxone administration is as effective as the parenteral route. This test is sensitive enough to identify the physically-dependent opiate user and might have a role in emergency medicine and withdrawal treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Intranasal
  • Adult
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Naloxone*
  • Neurologic Examination
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Prisons
  • Substance Abuse Detection*
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / diagnosis


  • Naloxone