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Psychopharmacology

, Volume 160, Issue 4, pp 344–352 | Cite as

Effects of buprenorphine sublingual tablet maintenance on opioid drug-seeking behavior by humans

  • Mark K. Greenwald
  • Kory J. Schuh
  • John A. Hopper
  • Charles R. Schuster
  • Chris-Ellyn Johanson
Original Investigation

Abstract

Rationale: Buprenorphine can decrease opioid self-administration by humans and animals, but its ability to decrease drug-seeking behavior and craving (i.e. motivational measures) among outpatient volunteers using clinically relevant dosing schedules has not been extensively studied. Objectives: We investigated whether daily versus alternating-day administration of high versus low buprenorphine doses influenced choice of, and operant responding for, hydromorphone versus money. Methods: Fourteen heroin-dependent outpatients were maintained under four buprenorphine sublingual tablet (double blind) dose conditions using a within-subject, randomized crossover design. All participants received, for 2 weeks each, buprenorphine doses of 2 mg daily, 4 mg/placebo on alternating days, 16 mg daily, and 32 mg/placebo on alternating days. In each laboratory test session, participants chose between money ($2/choice) and drug (1/8 of total hydromorphone, 4 or 24 mg IM in different sessions) alternatives using an eight-trial non-independent progressive ratio schedule (FR 100, 200, ...12,800). The drug dose and money amount earned was delivered after the end of the 2.5-h work period. Results: Hydromorphone 24 mg was more reinforcing than 4 mg. Higher versus lower average buprenorphine doses (regardless of daily versus alternate-day schedule) significantly decreased hydromorphone 24 mg choice and increased money choice. Baseline heroin craving questionnaire scores predicted drug choice, and craving scores were significantly decreased by high-dose buprenorphine. Conclusions: High-dose buprenorphine attenuated opioid drug-seeking behavior, heroin craving self-reports and increased sensitivity to alternative reinforcement. These beneficial effects were retained when high-dose buprenorphine was administered on alternate days.

Buprenorphine Heroin Progressive ratio Self-administration Drug-seeking Opioid dependence 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark K. Greenwald
    • 1
  • Kory J. Schuh
    • 2
  • John A. Hopper
    • 1
  • Charles R. Schuster
    • 1
  • Chris-Ellyn Johanson
    • 1
  1. 1.Addiction Research Institute, Wayne State University School of Medicine, 2761 E. Jefferson, Detroit, MI 48207, USAUSA
  2. 2.Eli Lilly and Company, Lilly Corporate Center, Indianapolis, IN 46285, USAUSA

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