Research Article| Volume 28, ISSUE 8, P650-656, October 15, 1990

Transcutaneous electrical stimulation with limoge current potentiates morphine analgesia and attenuates opiate abstinence syndrome

      This paper is only available as a PDF. To read, Please Download here.


      Transcutaneous electrostimulation is a somewhat controversial technique used in the management of the opiate withdrawal syndrome. We report an animal study of a particular transcutaneous electrostimulation called transcutaneous cranial electrostimulation, based on a technique used for many years on heroin addicts for the rapid severance of their addiction, which has been validated in a clinical setting by a double-blind trial. This technique involves the application of an intermittent high-frequency current (Limoge's current). Our experimental data show that this transcutaneous cranial electrostimulation increases morphine analgesia by threefold on teh tail flick latency measure and produces a 48% attenuation of the abstinence syndrome observed after abrupt cessation of morphine administration. These results were obtained using a double-blind paradigm.
      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to Biological Psychiatry
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Barritault L.
        • Prieur G.
        • Limoge A.
        Optimisation des moyens d'obtention des courants destinés à l'électro-analgésie générale.
        Innov Tech Biol Med. 1984; 5: 439-451
        • Bourdallé-Badie C.
        • Gardien P.
        • Laforge E.
        • Gadrat F.
        • Erny P.
        Les anesthésies de longue durée.
        Anesh Ann Réan. 1980; 37: 523-526
        • Cara M.
        • Cara-Beurton M.
        • Debras C.
        • Limoge A.
        Essais d'anesthésie électrique chez l'homme.
        Ann Anesth Franç. 1972; 13: 521-526
        • Choy Y.M.
        • Two W.W.
        • Fung K.P.
        • et al.
        Suppression of narcotic withdrawal and plasma ACTH by auricular electroacupuncture.
        Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1978; 82: 305-309
        • D'Amour F.E.
        • Smith D.L.
        A method for determining loss of pain sensation.
        J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 1941; 72: 74-79
        • Daubech J.F.
        • Daulouède J.P.
        • Bourgeois M.
        • et al.
        Intérêt de l'électrothérapie dans le sevrage des toxicomanies.
        Bordeaux Med. 1981; 14: 357-360
        • Daulouède J.P.
        • Daubech J.F.
        • Bourdallé-Badie C.
        • et al.
        Une nouvelle méthode de sevrage des toxicomanes par utilisation du courant de Limoge.
        Ann Med Psychol. 1980; 138: 359-370
        • Ellison F.
        • Ellison W.
        • Daulouède J.P.
        • et al.
        Opiate withdrawal and electrostimulation double-blind experiments.
        Encéphale. 1987; 13: 225-229
        • Gellert V.F.
        • Holtzman S.G.
        Development and maintenance of morphine tolerance and dependence in the rat by scheduled access to morphine drinking solutions.
        J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 1978; 205: 536-546
        • Gossop M.
        • Bradley B.
        • Strang J.
        • Connel P.
        The clinical effectiveness of electrostimulation vs. oral methadone in managing opiate withdrawal.
        B J Psychiatry. 1984; 144: 203-208
        • Ho W.K.K.
        • Wen H.L.
        • Ma L.
        The influence of electroacupuncture on naloxone-induced morphine withdrawal in mice.
        Eur J Pharmacol. 1978; 49: 197-199
        • Limoge A.
        Johnson R.M. An Introduction to Electroanaesthesia. University Park Press, Baltimore1975: 120
        • Limoge A.
        • Boisgontier M.T.
        Characteristic of electric currents used in human anesthesiology.
        in: Ribak B. Advanced Technology. Sythoff and Noordhoff, Germantown USA1979: 437-446
        • Malin D.H.
        • Murray J.B.
        • Crucian G.P.
        • Schweitzer F.C.
        • Cook R.E.
        • Skolnick M.H.
        Auricular microelectrostimulation naloxone-reversible attenuation of opiate abstinence syndrome.
        Biol Psychiatry. 1988; 24: 886-890
        • Man P.L.
        • Chuang M.Y.
        Acupuncture in methadone withdrawal.
        Int J Addict. 1980; 15: 921-926
        • Ng L.K.Y.
        • Douthitt T.C.
        • Thoa N.B.
        • Albert C.A.
        Modification of morphine-withdrawal syndrome in rats following transauricular electrostimulation.
        Biol Psychiatry. 1975; 10: 575-580
        • Skolnick M.
        • Collard C.D.
        • Hamilton R.
        • Hudson-Howard L.
        • Hymel C.
        • Wilson O.
        Transcranial electrostimulation: Increases in tail flick latencies after nociceptive challenge.
        Soc Neurosci. 1987; 13 (Abstract): 1304
        • Stanley T.H.
        • Cazalaa J.A.
        • Atinault A.
        • Coeytaux R.
        • Limoge A.
        • Louville Y.
        Transcutaneous cranial electrical stimulation decreases narcotic requirements during neuroleptic anesthesia and operation in man.
        Anesth Analg. 1982; 61: 863-866
        • Stinus L.
        • Toulet P.
        • Auriacombe M.
        • Tignol J.
        • Le Moal M.
        Transcutaneous electrical stimulation increases morphine-induced analgesia: Double-blind study.
        in: Advances in Biosciences Series. Pergamon Press, New York1989: 75
        • Stinus L.
        • Toulet P.
        • Auriacombe M.
        • Tignol J.
        • Le Moal M.
        Transcutaneous electrical stimulation increases morphine-induced analgesia: Double-blind study.
        in: Advances in Biosciences Series. Pergamon Press, New York1989: 447-449
        • Tennant F.S.
        Outpatient heroin detoxification with acupuncture and staplepuncture.
        West J Med. 1977; 125: 141-144
        • Wen H.L.
        • Cheung S.Y.C.
        Treatment of drug addiction by acupuncture and electrical stimulation.
        Asian J Med. 1973; 9: 138-141
        • Whitehead P.C.
        Acupuncture in the treatment of addiction: A review and analyses.
        Int J Addict. 1978; 13: 1-16