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June 3, 1968

Naloxone Reversal of Pentazocine-Induced Respiratory Depression

Author Affiliations


JAMA. 1968;204(10):932. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03140230090022

To the Editor:—  Pentazocine lactate (Talwin Injectable) can produce respiratory depression when given in large doses or when given to susceptible patients. Naloxone hydrochloride (Narcan) is an antagonist for pentazocine, as well as narcotic analgesics.Pentazocine lactate has recently been introduced for the relief of pain in surgical, neurologic, obstetric, and medical disorders and as a supplement to surgical anesthesia. It is a member of the benzomorphan series and differs from other narcotic analgesics principally and importantly because of the absence of addiction liability.1 It is consequently exempt from narcotic control regulations; thus it is likely to find widespread use for chronic pain problems. It is capable of producing respiratory depression when administered in large doses or to certain susceptible patients. The manufacturer's drug description2 states that "the usual narcotic antagonists, such as nalorphine, are not effective respiratory stimulants for depression due to pentazocine lactate." Methylphenidate (Ritalin) is