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D. Alonso, H. Hong, D. Pettit-Barrett, D. Sadava. 1997. Effect of methadone addiction on glucose metabolism in rats. Gen. Pharmacol 28: 27-29.

Female albino rats were exposed to methadone over a 35-day period by addition of the drug in their drinking water. The final dose of the drug was 1.8 mg/kg body weight per day. After this period, the drug was withdrawn from some animals for 30 days (postexposure). Compared to unexposed controls, serum glucose levels rose during exposure and returned to control levels postexposure. Oral glucose tolerance tests showed impairment in 35-day drug-exposed animals compared to controls and postexposure. The activities of three key enzymes of glycolysis and three key enzymes of gluconeogenesis were measured in liver during and at the end of the exposure period, as well as postexposure. Compared to unexposed controls and postexposure, specific activities of two glycolytic enzymes in livers of exposed animals—hexokinase and phosphofructokinase 1—were significantly reduced, whereas the activity of a third glycolytic enzyme—pyruvate kinase—was unchanged. The specific activities of two gluconeogenic enzymes—glucose-6-phosphatase and fructose-1,6-biphosphatase—were significantly elevated in the drug-exposed animals compared to controls, whereas the activity of a third enzyme—phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase—was unchanged. These data indicate that methadone addiction produces a metabolic state similar to insulin-resistant diabetes.

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