It has previously been reported that the noncompetitive NMDA receptor antagonists ketamine and dextromethorphan suppressed the naloxone-induced morphine abstinence syndrome. In addition, the previous blockade by ketamine and dextromethorphan of NMDA receptors has been shown to intensify the naloxone-elicited morphine abstinence syndrome. On the basis of this information, another noncompetitive NMDA receptor antagonist, (+)-5-methyl-10,11-dihydro-5H-dibenzo-a,d-cyclohepten-5,10-imine maleate (MK 801), was administered to rats in which two morphine-containing (75 X 2 morphine base) pellets had been implanted. The naloxone-precipitated abstinence syndrome in rats injected with 0.3 mg/kg MK 801 36 h after pellet implantation was found significantly more intense than controls whereas the abstinence syndrome in rats that received 0.1 mg/kg MK 801 before naloxone injection was less intense. The intensification by MK 801 given 36 h following pellet implantation was attributed to the further increase in upregulation and supersensitivity of NMDA receptors caused by morphine. The attenuation was explained by the blockade by MK 801 of NMDA receptors as occurred in the case of ketamine and dextromethorphan.