mise à jour
1 août 2002
Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry
1988; 12; 2-3; 117-64
Apomorphine in the evaluation of dopaminergic function in man
Samarthji Lal
The neuropharmacology of yawning
A trial of subcutaneously injected apomorphine for parkinsonian


  1. Apomorphine (Apo), a short acting dopamine (DA) receptor agonist, stimulates growth hormone (GH) secretion, decreases prolactin secretion, induces yawning, penile erections and other physiological effects in man. An effect on behavior, movement disorders and alcoholism has also been described.
  2. Apo-mediated responses are used to evaluate DA function in psychiatric and neurological disorders. Many of the studies in schizophrenia using the GH response to Apo as an index of central DA function are difficult to interpret because of failure to control for key variables.
  3. The GH response to Apo is a useful system to evaluate the effects of various drugs including peptides which may not cross the blood brain barrier on DA function in man.
  4. Apo is a potent sedative. Specific antimanic, antischizophrenic, and anticraving effects in alcoholics have not been convincingly demonstrated. Side effects of Apo and failure to use active placebo make double-blind studies difficult.
  5. Apo improves parkinsonian symptoms and certain forms of reflex epilepsy but beneficial effects in other involuntary movement disorders requires further documentation.
  6. Apo may be a useful agent to evaluate DA function in impotent patients and predict a therapeutic response to long-acting dopaminergic agents.
  7. Impairment of DA function may play a role in diabetic impotence.
  8. The development of a simple polygraphic method to monitor the yawning response to Apo may facilitate clinical studies on the basic physiology of yawning in man and the use of the yawning response as a measure of central DA function in schizophrenia and other clinical disorders.
  9. The use of Apo with 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography to examine regional DA function in man opens up a promising area of research.
  10. Though long-acting orally active aporphine DA agonists and antagonists have been developed the problem of tolerance may limit their therapeutic potential.