Narcotic reversal in hypercapnic dogs: comparison of naloxone and nalbuphine

Can J Anaesth. 1990 Mar;37(2):238-44. doi: 10.1007/BF03005476.


Reversal of opioid effects by naloxone (NX) can lead to significant cardiovascular problems. We have reported previously that hypercapnic dogs develop greater increases in blood pressure and plasma catecholamine (CA) levels than hypocapnic ones when reversed with naloxone. We have also demonstrated differences between NX and nalbuphine (NBPH) in producing excitatory adrenergic responses when administered during normocapnia. The present study was designed to investigate possible dissimilarities in cardiovascular and sympathetic events after administration of either NX or NBPH in dogs made hypercapnic following fentanyl administration. After induction of anaesthesia with thiopentone and intubation, two groups of dogs were maintained with controlled ventilation on enflurane in oxygen anaesthesia and given 50 fentanyl IV. This caused a significant decrease in heart rate (HR) (P less than 0.001), mean arterial blood pressure (MAP) (P less than 0.001), and plasma concentrations of norepinephrine (NE) (P less than 0.002). Then, ventilation was decreased to produce a PaCO2 of 60 mmHg; this was accompanied by a significant elevation in plasma level of both epinephrine (EPI) (P less than 0.02) and NE (P less than 0.001). Administration of 20 NX to six dogs resulted in immediate increases in HR (P less than 0.01) and MAP (P less than 0.01), and a further rise in CA levels to greater than pre-fentanyl baseline values. In six other dogs, NBPH (0.3 caused increases in HR (P less than 0.001) and MAP (P less than 0.001) only, and the MAP rise was significantly less than that seen in the NX group (P less than 0.01).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Dogs
  • Epinephrine / blood
  • Fentanyl / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Heart Rate / drug effects
  • Hypercapnia / physiopathology*
  • Morphinans / pharmacology*
  • Nalbuphine / pharmacology*
  • Naloxone / pharmacology*
  • Norepinephrine / blood


  • Morphinans
  • Naloxone
  • Nalbuphine
  • Fentanyl
  • Norepinephrine
  • Epinephrine