, Volume 175, Issue 4, pp 407–413 | Cite as

Olanzapine attenuates cue-elicited craving for tobacco

  • Kent E. HutchisonEmail author
  • Marie-Christine Rutter
  • Raymond Niaura
  • Robert M. Swift
  • Wallace B. Pickworth
  • Laura Sobik
Original Investigation



Recent biological conceptualizations of craving and addiction have implicated mesolimbic dopamine activity as a central feature of the process of addiction. Imaging, and pharmacological studies have supported a role for dopaminergic structures in cue-elicited craving for tobacco.


If mesolimbic dopamine activity is associated with cue-elicited craving for tobacco, a dopamine antagonist should attenuate cue-elicited craving for tobacco. Thus, the aim of the present study was to determine whether an atypical antipsychotic (olanzapine, 5 mg) decreased cue-elicited craving for tobacco.


Participants were randomly assigned to 5 days of pretreatment with olanzapine (5 mg; n=31) or were randomly assigned to 5 days of a matching placebo (n=28). Approximately 8 h after the last dose, participants were exposed to a control cue (pencil) followed by exposure to smoking cues. Participants subsequently smoked either nicotine cigarettes or de-nicotinized cigarettes.


Olanzapine attenuated cue-elicited craving for tobacco but did not moderate the subjective effects of smoking.


This study represents one of the first investigations of the effect of atypical antipsychotics on cue-elicited craving for tobacco. The results suggest that medications with similar profiles may reduce cue-elicited craving, which in turn, may partially explain recent observations that atypical antipsychotics may reduce substance use.


Smoking Nicotine Craving Olanzapine 



This research was supported by grants from the Eli Lilly & Company and the National Cancer Institute (1R21CA81637) as well as grant 2 M01-RR00051 from the General Clinical Research Center Program of the National Center for Research Resources, National Institutes of Health.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kent E. Hutchison
    • 1
    Email author
  • Marie-Christine Rutter
    • 1
  • Raymond Niaura
    • 2
  • Robert M. Swift
    • 3
  • Wallace B. Pickworth
    • 4
  • Laura Sobik
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of ColoradoBoulderUSA
  2. 2.Centers for Behavioral MedicineProvidenceUSA
  3. 3.Providence Veteran Affairs Medical Center and Center for Alcohol and Addiction StudiesBrown UniversityProvidenceUSA
  4. 4.Intramural Research ProgramNational Institute on Drug AbuseBaltimoreUSA

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