Characterizing the subjective, observer-rated, and physiological effects of hydromorphone relative to heroin in a human laboratory study

Kelly Dunn, Bruna Brands, David C. Marsh, George Bigelow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: This study compared the effects of the several doses of the opioid agonists heroin and hydromorphone across two routes of administration in humans. The goal was to guide development of human laboratory studies of opioid effects and inform subsequent injection pharmacotherapy trials of hydromorphone-assisted treatment. Methods: A within-subject (N = 16), double-blind, double-dummy, placebo-controlled, evaluation of acute doses of heroin and hydromorphone was completed at four dose levels (placebo, low, medium, high) across two routes of administration (intravenous, subcutaneous) in non-physically dependent, opioid-experienced individuals. Subject and observer ratings, as well as physiological outcomes, were assessed. Results: Within each route of administration, heroin and hydromorphone produced effects that were qualitatively similar on most variables across the doses examined. All effects were dose-dependent. The drugs produced different effects on VAS ratings of “Feels Like Heroin,” a Heroin Identification Test, observer agonist ratings, and oxygen saturation levels. Drug-dependent differences emerged at the highest doses in all cases. Few significant main effects of Route were identified and their pattern was not uniform. Relative potency calculations across all subject, observer, and physiological outcomes that met analysis criteria revealed similar profiles and resulted in mean heroin:hydromorphone potencies of 3.35:1 and 2.88:1 for the intravenous and subcutaneous routes, respectively, and intravenous:subcutaneous potencies of 0.47:1 and 0.49:1 for heroin and hydromorphone, respectively. Conclusions: Hydromorphone produced similar subjective and physiological effects as heroin, but was more potent than heroin. The current findings support the use of hydromorphone as a model for heroin in human laboratory and clinical treatment studies, and help identify appropriate hydromorphone dose conversion ratios to produce effects qualitatively similar to heroin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalPsychopharmacology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Dec 21 2017

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Hydromorphone
Heroin
Opioid Analgesics
Placebos
Human Development
Pharmaceutical Preparations
Intravenous Administration

Keywords

  • Heroin
  • Heroin-assisted treatment
  • Hydromorphone
  • Opioid
  • Potency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology

Cite this

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title = "Characterizing the subjective, observer-rated, and physiological effects of hydromorphone relative to heroin in a human laboratory study",
abstract = "Background: This study compared the effects of the several doses of the opioid agonists heroin and hydromorphone across two routes of administration in humans. The goal was to guide development of human laboratory studies of opioid effects and inform subsequent injection pharmacotherapy trials of hydromorphone-assisted treatment. Methods: A within-subject (N = 16), double-blind, double-dummy, placebo-controlled, evaluation of acute doses of heroin and hydromorphone was completed at four dose levels (placebo, low, medium, high) across two routes of administration (intravenous, subcutaneous) in non-physically dependent, opioid-experienced individuals. Subject and observer ratings, as well as physiological outcomes, were assessed. Results: Within each route of administration, heroin and hydromorphone produced effects that were qualitatively similar on most variables across the doses examined. All effects were dose-dependent. The drugs produced different effects on VAS ratings of “Feels Like Heroin,” a Heroin Identification Test, observer agonist ratings, and oxygen saturation levels. Drug-dependent differences emerged at the highest doses in all cases. Few significant main effects of Route were identified and their pattern was not uniform. Relative potency calculations across all subject, observer, and physiological outcomes that met analysis criteria revealed similar profiles and resulted in mean heroin:hydromorphone potencies of 3.35:1 and 2.88:1 for the intravenous and subcutaneous routes, respectively, and intravenous:subcutaneous potencies of 0.47:1 and 0.49:1 for heroin and hydromorphone, respectively. Conclusions: Hydromorphone produced similar subjective and physiological effects as heroin, but was more potent than heroin. The current findings support the use of hydromorphone as a model for heroin in human laboratory and clinical treatment studies, and help identify appropriate hydromorphone dose conversion ratios to produce effects qualitatively similar to heroin.",
keywords = "Heroin, Heroin-assisted treatment, Hydromorphone, Opioid, Potency",
author = "Kelly Dunn and Bruna Brands and Marsh, {David C.} and George Bigelow",
year = "2017",
month = "12",
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doi = "10.1007/s00213-017-4814-3",
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pages = "1--11",
journal = "Psychopharmacology",
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T1 - Characterizing the subjective, observer-rated, and physiological effects of hydromorphone relative to heroin in a human laboratory study

AU - Dunn, Kelly

AU - Brands, Bruna

AU - Marsh, David C.

AU - Bigelow, George

PY - 2017/12/21

Y1 - 2017/12/21

N2 - Background: This study compared the effects of the several doses of the opioid agonists heroin and hydromorphone across two routes of administration in humans. The goal was to guide development of human laboratory studies of opioid effects and inform subsequent injection pharmacotherapy trials of hydromorphone-assisted treatment. Methods: A within-subject (N = 16), double-blind, double-dummy, placebo-controlled, evaluation of acute doses of heroin and hydromorphone was completed at four dose levels (placebo, low, medium, high) across two routes of administration (intravenous, subcutaneous) in non-physically dependent, opioid-experienced individuals. Subject and observer ratings, as well as physiological outcomes, were assessed. Results: Within each route of administration, heroin and hydromorphone produced effects that were qualitatively similar on most variables across the doses examined. All effects were dose-dependent. The drugs produced different effects on VAS ratings of “Feels Like Heroin,” a Heroin Identification Test, observer agonist ratings, and oxygen saturation levels. Drug-dependent differences emerged at the highest doses in all cases. Few significant main effects of Route were identified and their pattern was not uniform. Relative potency calculations across all subject, observer, and physiological outcomes that met analysis criteria revealed similar profiles and resulted in mean heroin:hydromorphone potencies of 3.35:1 and 2.88:1 for the intravenous and subcutaneous routes, respectively, and intravenous:subcutaneous potencies of 0.47:1 and 0.49:1 for heroin and hydromorphone, respectively. Conclusions: Hydromorphone produced similar subjective and physiological effects as heroin, but was more potent than heroin. The current findings support the use of hydromorphone as a model for heroin in human laboratory and clinical treatment studies, and help identify appropriate hydromorphone dose conversion ratios to produce effects qualitatively similar to heroin.

AB - Background: This study compared the effects of the several doses of the opioid agonists heroin and hydromorphone across two routes of administration in humans. The goal was to guide development of human laboratory studies of opioid effects and inform subsequent injection pharmacotherapy trials of hydromorphone-assisted treatment. Methods: A within-subject (N = 16), double-blind, double-dummy, placebo-controlled, evaluation of acute doses of heroin and hydromorphone was completed at four dose levels (placebo, low, medium, high) across two routes of administration (intravenous, subcutaneous) in non-physically dependent, opioid-experienced individuals. Subject and observer ratings, as well as physiological outcomes, were assessed. Results: Within each route of administration, heroin and hydromorphone produced effects that were qualitatively similar on most variables across the doses examined. All effects were dose-dependent. The drugs produced different effects on VAS ratings of “Feels Like Heroin,” a Heroin Identification Test, observer agonist ratings, and oxygen saturation levels. Drug-dependent differences emerged at the highest doses in all cases. Few significant main effects of Route were identified and their pattern was not uniform. Relative potency calculations across all subject, observer, and physiological outcomes that met analysis criteria revealed similar profiles and resulted in mean heroin:hydromorphone potencies of 3.35:1 and 2.88:1 for the intravenous and subcutaneous routes, respectively, and intravenous:subcutaneous potencies of 0.47:1 and 0.49:1 for heroin and hydromorphone, respectively. Conclusions: Hydromorphone produced similar subjective and physiological effects as heroin, but was more potent than heroin. The current findings support the use of hydromorphone as a model for heroin in human laboratory and clinical treatment studies, and help identify appropriate hydromorphone dose conversion ratios to produce effects qualitatively similar to heroin.

KW - Heroin

KW - Heroin-assisted treatment

KW - Hydromorphone

KW - Opioid

KW - Potency

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