Although previous studies have shown that pharmacological agents, such as buprenorphine, and alternative nondrug reinforcers, such as money or sweetened solutions, reduce cocaine self-administration, few studies have examined the combined effects of these two approaches. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the effects of the opioid partial agonist buprenorphine (0.1 mg/kg) and concurrent access to either water or a glucose plus saccharin solution (G+S, 3% and 0.125% wt/vol) in rats self-administering intravenous (IV) cocaine (0.4 mg/kg per infusion) under fixed-ratio schedules (FR2, 8 or 32). One group had concurrent access to water and another group had concurrent access to G+S. After 3 consecutive days of stable cocaine self-administration, a single buprenorphine injection (0.1 mg/kg IV) was administered 30 min before the start of the experimental session for 3 consecutive days. To summarize the results, (1) the presence of an alternative non-drug reinforcer significantly reduced cocaine self-administration; (2) buprenorphine selectively decreased cocaine, but not water or G+S, self-administration; (3) the decrease in cocaine infusions by buprenorphine was greatest on the first day of buprenorphine administration; and (4) expressed as a percentage of baseline conditions, the combination of buprenorphine and G+S produced a greater decrease in cocaine self-administration than either buprenorphine or G+S alone. These results indicate that combined treatment with buprenorphine and concurrent access to a sweetened solution is a more effective strategy for reducing cocaine self-administration than either strategy alone.
- Alternative nondrug reinforcer
- Behavioral economics