Effects of valproic acid administration on morphine analgesia and on morphine tolerance and dependence were investigated in mice. Valproate increased the reaction time to thermal stimulation in naive animals. This effect was additive with morphine when valproate was administered shortly before the analgesic. However, an antagonism was observed if a 4-hour period elapsed between valproate and morphine administration. When administered to mice receiving a sustained release preparation of morphine, valproate antagonized the development of tolerance to morphine. Valproate elicited a dual action on the abstinence signs observed after naloxone administration in morphine-treated mice. The effect consisted in a reduction of abstinence behavior if the anticonvulsant was administered a few minutes before naloxone; the same treatment increased the severity of the abstinence behavior when valproate was injected 1 h before the precipitating dose of naloxone. In this latter schedule, concomitant administration of γ-vinyl-GABA failed to reduce the severity of the convulsions observed during the abstinence syndrome. These results suggest that valproate is metabolized to a compound responsible for decreased analgesia and intensified withdrawal signs.

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