The effect of morphine (0.1 mg/kg) on insulin secretion stimulated by oral, intraduodenal, or intravenous administration of glucose was studied in seven healthy volunteers. When glucose was given intravenously, morphine had no effect on plasma glucose, insulin, glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP), or pancreatic glucagon. Following oral glucose, morphine slowed gastric emptying and reduced plasma concentrations of glucose, insulin, and GIP. During intraduodenal infusion of glucose, insulin concentrations in plasma were also decreased by morphine, an effect best explained by decreased small intestinal transit with delayed absorption of glucose and delayed release of GIP. We conclude that clinically relevant doses of morphine has no direct effect on insulin secretion and that the changes observed were secondary to slowed gastric emptying and small intestinal transit.
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