Low-dose prazosin alone and in combination with propranolol or naltrexone: Effects on ethanol and sucrose seeking and self-administration in the P rat

Terril L. Verplaetse, Cristine L. Czachowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Rationale: Evidence suggests that the noradrenergic system mediates ethanol reinforcement. However, preclinical studies suggest that noradrenergic antagonists block other oral reinforcers indicating possible unwanted secondary medication effects. Methods: This study examined combinations of low-dose prazosin with propranolol or naltrexone using a behavioral paradigm that separately assesses reinforcer seeking and self-administration. Male alcohol-preferring (P) rats (n = 20/experiment) were trained to complete a response requirement (RR) resulting in access to 1 % sucrose (n = 10) or 10 % ethanol (n = 10) for 20 min. Rats received vehicle, prazosin alone (0.125, 0.25, 0.5, and 1.0 mg/kg, intraperitoneally (IP)), or prazosin in combination with propranolol (5 mg/kg (IP); Exp. 1) or in combination with naltrexone (0.03 mg/kg, subcutaneously (SC); Exp. 2). Results: For Exp. 1, prazosin alone effectively decreased sucrose seeking more than ethanol seeking, but decreased ethanol self-administration only. Propranolol alone effectively decreased ethanol seeking more than sucrose seeking and decreased ethanol intake only. At some dose combinations, there was a greater attenuation of ethanol and sucrose intake relative to either drug alone. For Exp. 2, prazosin alone and naltrexone alone were effective in decreasing ethanol seeking and intake only. Combination treatment was more effective than either drug alone at decreasing ethanol seeking and consumption and sucrose intake, but not sucrose seeking. Conclusions: Propranolol and naltrexone alone were specific to ethanol indicating that low doses of either medication may be beneficial in treating alcohol use disorders. Prazosin in combination with propranolol or naltrexone was more effective than either drug alone and also reduced sucrose-reinforced behaviors. These data suggest that the noradrenergic system is a viable target for developing treatment approaches for problem drinkers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2647-2657
Number of pages11
JournalPsychopharmacology
Volume232
Issue number15
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 24 2015

Keywords

  • Alcohol
  • Combination pharmacotherapy
  • Ethanol
  • Naltrexone
  • Noradrenergic
  • P rat
  • Prazosin
  • Propranolol
  • Self-administration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology

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