Transcutaneous electrical stimulation with Limoge current potentiates morphine analgesia and attenuates opiate abstinence syndrome

Biol Psychiatry. 1990 Oct 15;28(8):650-6. doi: 10.1016/0006-3223(90)90451-7.


Transcutaneous electrostimulation is a somewhat controversial technique used in the management of the opiate withdrawal syndrome. We report an animal study of a particular transcutaneous electrostimulation called transcutaneous cranial electrostimulation, based on a technique used for many years on heroin addicts for the rapid severance of their addiction, which has been validated in a clinical setting by a double-blind trial. This technique involves the application of an intermittent high-frequency current (Limoge's current). Our experimental data show that this transcutaneous cranial electrostimulation increases morphine analgesia by threefold on the tail flick latency measure and produces a 48% attenuation of the abstinence syndrome observed after abrupt cessation of morphine administration. These results were obtained using a double-blind paradigm.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Synergism
  • Male
  • Morphine / pharmacology*
  • Morphine Dependence / physiopathology*
  • Nociceptors / drug effects*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Receptors, Opioid / drug effects*
  • Sensory Thresholds / drug effects
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation*


  • Receptors, Opioid
  • Morphine