Suppression of cocaine relapse-like behaviors upon pimavanserin and lorcaserin co-administration

Noelle C. Anastasio, Dennis J. Sholler, Robert G. Fox, Sonja J. Stutz, Christina R. Merritt, James M. Bjork, F. Gerard Moeller, Kathryn A. Cunningham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Cocaine use disorder (CUD) is a major public health challenge for which there are no pharmacotherapeutics approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The propensity to relapse in CUD involves several vulnerability factors including sensitivity to cues associated with cocaine-taking. Serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) neurotransmission, particularly through the 5-HT2A receptor (5-HT2AR) and 5-HT2C receptor (5-HT2CR), is mechanistically linked to cocaine-seeking in preclinical models. In the present experiments, we employed self-administration assays in male rats to investigate whether acute and/or repeated administration of the FDA-approved selective 5-HT2AR antagonist/inverse agonist pimavanserin, selective 5-HT2CR agonist lorcaserin or their combination would alter cocaine intake and/or cocaine-seeking behavior. We found that acute administration of lorcaserin, but not pimavanserin, attenuated cocaine intake while pimavanserin plus lorcaserin did not impact cocaine self-administration. In contrast, 10-days of repeated administration of pimavanserin, lorcaserin, or pimavanserin plus lorcaserin during forced abstinence from cocaine self-administration, blunted cocaine-seeking, similar to the acute administration of each ligand. Taken together, these data reveal the efficacy of repeated treatment with pimavanserin plus lorcaserin to attenuate factors important to relapse-like behaviors in rodent models of CUD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number108009
StatePublished - May 15 2020


  • 5-HT receptor
  • 5-HT receptor
  • Cocaine
  • Drug-seeking behavior
  • Lorcaserin
  • Pimavanserin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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