Oliceridine (Olinvyk®) is a μ-opioid receptor agonist that in contrast to conventional opioids preferentially engages the G-protein-coupled signaling pathway. We determined the utility function of oliceridine versus morphine based on neurocognitive tests and cold pressor test.


The study had a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, partial block 3-way crossover design. Experiments were performed in 20 male and female volunteers. Subjects received intravenous oliceridine (1 or 3 mg; cohorts of 10 subjects/dose), morphine (5 or 10 mg; cohorts of 10 subjects/dose) or placebo on three separate occasions. Prior to and following dosing, neurocognitive tests, cold pressor test and plasma drug concentrations were obtained at regular intervals. Population pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic analyses served as basis for construction of a utility function, which is an objective function of probability of benefit minus probability of harm. Antinociception served as measure of benefit, slowing of saccadic peak velocity and increased body sway as measures of neurocognitive harm.


The oliceridine and morphine C50’s, i.e. the effect-site concentrations causing 50% effect, were: antinociception 13±2 and 23±7 ng/mL, saccadic peak velocity 90±14 and 54±15 ng/mL, and body sway 10±2 and 5.6±0.8 ng/mL, respectively. The ratio oliceridine/morphine of the therapeutic indices, C50(benefit)/C50(harm), were 0.34 (95% CI 0.17-0.7; p<0.01) for saccadic peak velocity and 0.33 (0.16-0.50; p<0.01) for body sway. The oliceridine utility was positive across the effect-site concentration 5-77 ng/mL, indicative of a greater probability of benefit than harm. The morphine utility was not significantly different from zero from 0-100 ng/mL. Over the concentration range 15-50 ng/mL the oliceridine utility was superior to that of morphine (p < 0.01). Similar observations were made for body sway.


These data indicate that over the clinical concentration range, oliceridine is an analgesic with a favorable safety profile over morphine when considering analgesia and neurocognitive function.