Psychopharmacology

, Volume 139, Issue 3, pp 169–184

Progressive-ratio schedules of drug delivery in the analysis of drug self-administration: a review

  • David Stafford
  • Mark G. LeSage
  • J. R. Glowa
Review

DOI: 10.1007/s002130050702

Cite this article as:
Stafford, D., LeSage, M. & Glowa, J. Psychopharmacology (1998) 139: 169. doi:10.1007/s002130050702

Abstract

 Drugs, like other reinforcers, can vary in their relative abilities to support operant responding. Considerable research has been designed to obtain useful measures of a given drug’s or dose’s ”reinforcing efficacy” and to identify the ways in which a variety of behavioral and pharmacological variables impact these measures. Progressive-ratio schedules of drug delivery generate an index of a drug’s or dose’s reinforcing efficacy (the breaking point) and are being used increasingly as tools in the analysis of drug self-administration. Progressive-ratio schedules of drug delivery have been used to characterize the effects of pretreatment drugs, lesions, drug deprivation, physical dependence, and repeated non-contingent drug exposure on breaking points. Behavioral factors, including food restriction and electric shock, and organismic factors, including gender and strain, have also been investigated using progressive-ratio schedules of drug delivery. To the extent that breaking points provide an index of reinforcing efficacy, these studies demonstrate that a wide range of variables can influence the reinforcing efficacy of self-administered drugs. The objectives of this review are to critique existing research themes, outline potential limitations of progressive-ratio procedures, and to suggest potentially fruitful uses of these procedures in future research.

Key words Progressive ratio Drug self-administration Reinforcement Reinforcing efficacy Craving Behavioral economics Cocaine Opiates Humans Non-humans 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Stafford
    • 1
  • Mark G. LeSage
    • 1
  • J. R. Glowa
    • 1
  1. 1.Pharmacology Department, Louisiana State University Medical Center at Shreveport, 1501 Kings Highway, Shreveport, LA 71130-3932, USAUS

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