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Increased neonatal mortality in offspring of male rats treated with methadone or morphine before mating


METHADONE ((±)-4, 4-diphenyl-6-dimethylamino-3-heptanone hydrochloride) is a potent (addictive) analgesic with pharmacological effects which are qualitatively similar to those of morphine, although it is far more effective than morphine when given orally. Its ability to diminish the severity of the abstinence syndrome resulting from heroin withdrawal led to the introduction of methadone in the chemotherapy of narcotic addiction1–3. Little is known, however, about its long term toxicity effects. We report that treatment of male rats with either (±)-methadone HCl (METH) or morphine sulphate (MS), given orally, for 24 h before mating to untreated females increases the neonatal (21-d) mortality of their offspring.

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SMITH, D., JOFFE, J. Increased neonatal mortality in offspring of male rats treated with methadone or morphine before mating. Nature 253, 202–203 (1975).

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