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June 8, 1970

Addiction to Pentazocine: Report of Two Cases

Author Affiliations

Mayo Clinic Rochester, Minn

JAMA. 1970;212(10):1708. doi:10.1001/jama.1970.03170230110030

To the Editor.—  Reports suggesting low or no addictive potential for pentazocine (Talwin) have appeared in the literature since 1964.1-4 The drug has been available for unrestricted clinical use since August 1967 and a preparation to be administered orally has been released recently. Clinical experience, although limited, suggests that tolerance develops more slowly to pentazocine than to the narcotics.

Report of Cases.—Case 1.—  A 61-year-old physician complained of recurrent bouts of anxiety and depression for many years. He had attempted to control his symptoms by the use of various drugs, which included stimulants, narcotics, sedatives, tranquilizers, and alcohol. Previously he had not had characteristic features of addiction. Fifteen months prior to his hospital admission, he self-administered his first dose of pentazocine, as treatment for fatigue and "the aching of an old man." He experienced a mild euphoria, but noted a significant degree of relief from irritability, fatigue,