Inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis and effects of ethanol and pentobarbital in humans

Wallace B. Pickworth, Reginald V. Fant, Jack E. Henningfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Results from animal research suggest that pretreatment with prostaglandin synthesis inhibitors (PGSIs) may inhibit physiological and behavioral effects of moderate ethanol ingestion. We examined the effects of ethanol and pentobarbital in humans with and without pretreatment with indomethacin, a potent PGSI. Ten male subjects with histories of recreational use of ethanol and sedative/hypnotics participated in this inpatient study. The effects of indomethacin alone (0.66 mg/kg), indomethacin (0, 0.17, 0.33, 0.66 and 1.33 mg/kg) in combination with ethanol (0 and 1 g/kg) and indomethacin (0 and 0.66 mg/kg) in combination with pentobarbital (0. 1.33 and 4 mg/kg) were tested. On test days, subjects swallowed capsules containing indomethacin or placebo. One hour later, they swallowed capsules that contained pentobarbital or placebo and a large drink (500 ml) of tonic water that contained ethanol or placebo(tonic water with 2 ml of ethanol floated on top). Both ethanol and pentobarbital affected subjective ratings, performance measures and heart rate. However, indomethacin pretreatment had no influence on, drug-induced changes to ethanol and pentobarbital. The results lot this study illustrate the relationship between depressant drugs and human performance, but they do not support the hypothesis that inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis diminishes the effects of ethanol and pentobarbital in humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)274-280
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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