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J Psychiatr Res. 2017 Sep;92:38-46. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2017.03.021. Epub 2017 Apr 4.

Mirtazapine attenuates cocaine seeking in rats.

Author information

1
Molecular Neurobiology and Neurochemistry of Addiction, National Institute of Psychiatry, Ramón de la Fuente Muñiz, Mexico.
2
Molecular Neurobiology and Neurochemistry of Addiction, National Institute of Psychiatry, Ramón de la Fuente Muñiz, Mexico. Electronic address: azazel_vamp@yahoo.com.mx.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Relapse to cocaine use is a major problem in the clinical treatment of cocaine addiction. Antidepressants have been studied for their therapeutic potential to treat cocaine use disorder. Research has suggested that antidepressants attenuate both drug craving and the re-acquisition of drug-seeking and drug-taking behaviors. This study examined the efficacy of mirtazapine, an antidepressant/anxiolytic, in decreasing cocaine seeking in rats.

METHODS:

We used the cocaine self-administration paradigm to assess the effects of mirtazapine on rats trained to self-administer cocaine or food under a fixed-ratio schedule. Mirtazapine (30 mg/kg, i.p.) was administered during extinction.

RESULTS:

Mirtazapine significantly attenuated non-reinforced lever-press responses during extinction. Moreover, the mirtazapine dosed for 30 days during extinction produced sustained attenuation of lever-press responses during re-acquisition of cocaine self-administration, without changing food-seeking behavior. Our results showed that mirtazapine attenuated the re-acquisition of cocaine-seeking responses.

CONCLUSION:

Our study pointed to the efficacy of mirtazapine in reducing the risk of drug relapse during abstinence, suggesting for its potential use as a novel pharmacological agent to treat drug abuse.

KEYWORDS:

Cocaine; Drug-addiction; Mirtazapine; Pharmacotherapy; Self-administration

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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