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Neuropsychopharmacology. 2002 Oct;27(4):534-41.

Nicotine interactions with haloperidol, clozapine and risperidone and working memory function in rats.

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Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.


Nicotine has been shown in a variety of studies to improve memory performance. The cognitive effects of nicotine are particularly important with regard to schizophrenia. In the current studies nicotine interactions with three different antipsychotic drugs, haloperidol, clozapine and risperidone, were assessed with regard to memory function. Female Sprague-Dawley rats were trained on the radial-arm maze to asymptotic levels of choice accuracy. They were then administered nicotine alone or in combination with haloperidol, clozapine or risperidone. Acute haloperidol (0.04 mg/kg) did not by itself affect memory performance. Co-administration of haloperidol with nicotine, however, decreased memory performance compared with nicotine administration in isolation. Acute clozapine (1.25 and 2.5 mg/kg) caused a significant memory impairment, an effect reversed by acute nicotine co-treatment. Risperidone (0.05 mg/kg), like haloperidol, did not by itself affect memory performance. Risperidone co-administration with nicotine, however, did significantly attenuate the improvement caused by nicotine administration in isolation. The similar interaction of haloperidol and risperidone with nicotine may be due to their common action of blocking D(2) receptors, a mechanism of action not shared by clozapine. In contrast to the interaction of nicotine with haloperidol or risperidone, nicotine effectively reversed clozapine-induced memory impairment. These studies demonstrate interactions between nicotine and antipsychotic drugs in terms of memory, which may have important impacts on the treatment of schizophrenia.

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