Author(s): Guillem K, Peoples LL
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Abstract This study tested the effects of the nicotine addiction treatment varenicline on cocaine self administration (SA) and reinstatement. In one SA experiment, rats were trained to self-administer cocaine (0.75 mg/kg/infusion). Thereafter, daily SA sessions continued as before except that every fourth session was preceded by a presession injection of varenicline (0.0, 0.3, 1.0 and 2.0 mg/kg, SC, 50-min presession). In three reinstatement experiments, animals were exposed sequentially to SA training, extinction training, and several reinstatement test sessions. In two of the reinstatement experiments, cocaine-seeking was reinstated by presentation of cocaine-predictive cues at the onset of the test session (cue reinstatement). In a third reinstatement experiment, cocaine-seeking was reinstated by a presession injection of cocaine (drug reinstatement). Each reinstatement session was preceded by an injection of either vehicle or varenicline (dose range of 0.1-2.0 mg/kg). The SA and reinstatement experiments showed that low-dose varenicline decreases reinstatement behavior, without significantly affecting cocaine SA. In contrast, high-dose varenicline increases reinstatement of cocaine-directed behavior and decreases cocaine SA. A control study showed that sucrose-directed behavior is unaltered by varenicline. On the basis of these findings, low-varenicline doses might decrease relapse in cocaine-addicted individuals, but high doses of varenicline might have the opposite effect.
This article was published in Behav Pharmacol
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy