People diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are at an increased risk to start smoking and have greater difficulty quitting. Nicotine, one of the principal addictive components of tobacco smoke, functioned as a conditioned stimulus (CS) for intermittent sucrose delivery in a Pavlovian drug discrimination task with rats. This study compared the ability of commonly prescribed ADHD medications (i.e., methylphenidate, atomoxetine, and bupropion) and additional dopamine reuptake inhibitors (i.e., cocaine and GBR 12909) to substitute for the CS effects of nicotine. Atomoxetine was also used to antagonize these CS effects. Rats acquired the discrimination as evidenced by increased dipper entries in nicotine (0.2 mg base/kg) sessions as compared with saline sessions. Nicotine generalization was dose dependent. Bupropion (10 and 20 mg/kg), methylphenidate (10 mg/kg), and cocaine (5 and 10 mg/kg) partially substituted for the 0.2 mg/kg nicotine CS. Atomoxetine did not substitute for the nicotine CS; however, atomoxetine (1 to 10 mg/kg) partially blocked nicotine's CS effects. These results suggest that atomoxetine, bupropion, and/or methylphenidate may be effective treatments for people diagnosed with ADHD and addicted to nicotine.
- drug discrimination
- interoceptive Pavlovian conditioning
- nicotinic acetylcholine receptors
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Pharmacology (medical)