CSF distribution of morphine, methadone and sucrose after intrathecal injection.
The lumbar to cisternal CSF distribution of morphine and methadone were compared to C-14 sucrose, a standard marker of CSF bulk flow, after lumbar subarachnoid injections in a sheep preparation. Morphine appeared and peaked simultaneously with C-14 sucrose in cisternal CSF at 90 to 190 minutes. The mean peak cisternal CSF morphine concentrations were sustained for 30-40 minutes, and averaged 148 ng/ml, representing 0.3% of the administered dose. Methadone was not detectable in cisternal CSF up to 240-300 minutes after lumbar subarachnoid administration. The C-14 sucrose/morphine ratio was increased an average of 6.7 times in cisternal CSF as compared to the ratio of the two compounds injected into the lumbar subarachnoid space. These studies demonstrate that morphine, a hydrophilic opioid, given intrathecally moves rostrally and appears in cisternal CSF by bulk flow. Furthermore the rostral redistribution of morphine is associated with the clearance of morphine from CSF. Methadone, a lipophilic opioid, appears to be completely cleared from CSF before it reaches the cisterna magna. These pharmacokinetic studies support a contribution of supraspinal sites to the analgesic and adverse effects produced by morphine given by spinal routes of administration. In contrast methadone appears to exert its effects predominantly at spinal sites.
Volume / Issue
Start / End Page
Pubmed Central ID
International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)