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We utilized a naloxone challenge strategy to investigate the functioning of the endogenous opioid system (EOS) in schizophrenia. Patients with schizophrenia, who were on neuroleptic medication or drug-free, demonstrated a significantly larger serum cortisol response to opioid blockade by naloxone than did age- and sex-matched normal controls. Patients, but not normal controls, also demonstrated an inverse relationship between baseline cortisol and the magnitude of the response. This enhanced cortisol response is consistent with tonic hyperactivity of the EOS in schizophrenia.
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Received in revised form: October 22, 1985
Received: July 26, 1985We wish to thank the DuPont Company for its generous supply of naloxone, the nursing staff of the 4-E Nursing Unit, Clinical Center, NIH, for clinical care of the patients, and Andrea Hobbs for expert secretarial assistance.
© 1986 Published by Elsevier Inc.