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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Aripiprazole blocks reinstatement of cocaine seeking in an animal model of relapse.

BACKGROUND: Aripiprazole (Abilify) is an atypical antipsychotic drug primarily characterized by partial agonist activity at dopamine (DA) D2 receptors and low side effects. Based on pharmacologic properties that include a stabilization of mesocorticolimbic DA activity, a pathway implicated in addiction, aripiprazole was tested for its ability to prevent relapse to cocaine seeking in rats. METHODS: We assessed the dose-dependent effects of aripiprazole on conditioned cue-induced and cocaine-primed reinstatement of drug-seeking behavior following chronic intravenous cocaine self-administration in an animal model of relapse. RESULTS: Aripiprazole potently and dose-dependently attenuated responding on the previously cocaine-paired lever during both reinstatement conditions, with slightly greater efficacy at reducing conditioned-cued reinstatement. Aripiprazole was effective at doses that failed to alter cocaine self-administration, food self-administration, reinstatement of food-seeking behavior, or basal locomotor activity, suggesting selective effects of aripiprazole on motivated drug-seeking behavior. CONCLUSIONS: These results in a relapse model show that aripiprazole can block cocaine seeking without affecting other behaviors. The D2 partial agonist properties of aripiprazole likely account for the blockade of reinstatement of cocaine-seeking behavior. Given its established efficacy and tolerability as a treatment for psychosis, aripiprazole may be an excellent therapeutic choice for reducing craving and preventing relapse in people with cocaine dependency.[1]


  1. Aripiprazole blocks reinstatement of cocaine seeking in an animal model of relapse. Feltenstein, M.W., Altar, C.A., See, R.E. Biol. Psychiatry (2007) [Pubmed]
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