Buprenorphine suppresses cocaine self-administration by rhesus monkeys

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Science  25 Aug 1989:
Vol. 245, Issue 4920, pp. 859-862
DOI: 10.1126/science.2772637


Cocaine abuse has reached epidemic proportions in the United States, and the search for an effective pharmacotherapy continues. Because primates self-administer most of the drugs abused by humans, they can be used to predict the abuse liability of new drugs and for preclinical evaluation of new pharmacotherapies for drug abuse treatment. Daily administration of buprenorphine (an opioid mixed agonist-antagonist) significantly suppressed cocaine self-administration by rhesus monkeys for 30 consecutive days. The effects of buprenorphine were dose-dependent. The suppression of cocaine self-administration by buprenorphine did not reflect a generalized suppression of behavior. These data suggest that buprenorphine would be a useful pharmacotherapy for treatment of cocaine abuse. Because buprenorphine is a safe and effective pharmacotherapy for heroin dependence, buprenorphine treatment may also attenuate dual abuse of cocaine and heroin.

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