Proglumide, a cholecystokinin antagonist, potentiates analgesia produced in rats by morphine and endogenous opiates, and appears to reverse tolerance in rats to opiate analgesia. Therefore, proglumide and other cholecystokinin antagonists may be clinically valuable. We have tested proglumide's possible opiate analgesic potentiating effects by examining, in volunteers, the effects of morphine and proglumide on human pain visual analogue scale responses to 45-51 degrees C skin temperature stimuli. Proglumide (50-100 micrograms intravenously) potentiated both the magnitude and duration of analgesia produced by small doses of morphine. This study provides indirect evidence for a cholecystokinin-opiate interaction in humans. Therefore, cholecystokinin antagonists such as proglumide may serve to potentiate exogenous or endogenous opiate action.