Evidence that nalorphine, butorphanol and oxilorphan are partial agonists at a kappa-opioid receptor

Eur J Pharmacol. 1983 Jan 21;86(3-4):467-70. doi: 10.1016/0014-2999(83)90198-x.


Nalorphine, butorphanol and oxilorphan were compared in their ability to increase urinary output in the normally hydrated rat and to antagonize the increased urinary output produced by the full kappa-agonist, bremazocine. Nalorphine, butorphanol and oxilorphan increased 5-h cumulative urine output compared to controls, but the maximal effect was less than half the amount excreted after injection with 0.08 mg/kg of bremazocine. The effects of bremazocine were antagonized by nalorphine, butorphanol and oxilorphan. These effects of nalorphine, butorphanol and oxilorphan satisfy the criteria for classifying these agents as partial agonists at the kappa-opioid receptor responsible for mediating the effect of increased urinary output.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Butorphanol / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Morphinans / analogs & derivatives
  • Morphinans / pharmacology*
  • Nalorphine / pharmacology*
  • Narcotic Antagonists / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Opioid / drug effects*


  • Morphinans
  • Narcotic Antagonists
  • Receptors, Opioid
  • oxilorphan
  • Butorphanol
  • Nalorphine