Fluoxetine reduces intravenous cocaine self-administration in rats

Marilyn E Carroll, Sylvie T. Lac, Marisel Asencio, Rebecca Kragh

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227 Scopus citations


Rats self-administered intravenously delivered cocaine (0.2 mg/kg) under a fixed-ratio (FR) 4 schedule during 24-hr sessions. Water was freely available from both a drinkometer and a standard water bottle. After behavior had stabilized,the rats were injected with fluoxetine HCl at 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. for 5 consecutive days. Three groups of 5 rats each received a different dose of fluoxetine (2.5, 5 or 10 mg/kg) via the IV cannula. In three other groups of rats a glucose and saccharin solution (G+S) was substituted for water in the automatic drinking device and saline was substituted for cocaine. These three groups of rats received the same fluoxetine doses as the cocaine self-injecting groups. In two additional groups of 5 rats each, the cocaine dose was changed to 0.1 or 0.4 mg/kg, and 5 mg/kg fluoxetine injections were given. The two higher doses of fluoxetine (5 and 10 mg/kg) reduced cocaine infusions (0.2 mg/kg) by at least 50 percent on all 5 days of treatment, and cocaine infusions returned to baseline levels within 48 hr after fluoxetine treatments were terminated. Behavior maintained by the G+S solution was also reduced by the two higher fluoxetine doses; however, this reduction did not reliably occur until the last two days of fluoxetine administration. The G+S intakes returned to baseline levels within 24 hr after fluoxetine treatment. Fluoxetine also reduced cocaine infusions in the group of rats that received the lower unit dose of cocaine (0.1 mg/kg); however, it had almost no effect on behavior maintained by a higher cocaine dose (0.4 mg/kg). Food and water intake, responding on an inactive lever, and the number of saline infusions were not reliably altered by the fluoxetine treatments. These results suggest that fluoxetine alters the reinforcing effects of cocaine as well as a nondrug substance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-244
Number of pages8
JournalPharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1990

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The gift of fluoxetine by Mr. Thomas Jeatran of the Eli Lilly Company is gratefully acknowledged. This work was supported by grants DA 03240 and DA 02486 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Portions of this work were presented at the 73rd Annual Meeting of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), New Orleans, LA, March, 1989.


  • Cocaine
  • Fluoxetine
  • Intravenous
  • Rats
  • Self-administration
  • Serotonin (5-HT)


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