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November 15, 1952


JAMA. 1952;150(11):1121. doi:10.1001/jama.1952.03680110061017

Treatment of acute poisoning by morphine and related narcotics has depended on such measures as artificial respiration, stimulation of the patient by physical means, respiratory stimulants such as caffeine, amphetamine or nikethamide and pentylenetetrazol (metrazol®), and general supportive therapy. Recent laboratory and clinical reports indicate that a specific antidote to these drugs may be available in the form of N-allylnormorphine, a drug closely allied chemically to morphine. The ability of this compound to combat the respiratory depression of morphine was reported first in 1941 by Hart, whose interest in this drug was aroused by a long-neglected report by Pohl1 that N-allyl-norcodeine, while almost inactive when given alone, would antagonize the respiratory depression of morphine whether given before or after morphine. Hart hoped that N-allyl-normorphine would have the analgesic and narcotic potency of morphine but lack its respiratory depressant action. Although Hart and McCawley2 subsequently reported that the drug