Effect of naltrexone on oral consumption of concurrently available ethanol and cocaine in the rat.
Comorbid abuse of and dependency on multiple drugs is a common occurrence clinically. We have developed an animal model that provides rats with the opportunity to choose, through oral consumption, between concurrently available ethanol and cocaine with water also available. This provides the ability to screen for the effectiveness of potential pharmacotherapeutic agents on the baseline consumption of both drugs. We used this animal model to evaluate the effects of naltrexone, at doses of 0, 1.0, 3.0, and 10.0 mg/kg, on concurrent oral consumption of ethanol and cocaine solutions. Naltrexone at all doses significantly reduced both consumption of and preference for ethanol. Consumption of both cocaine and water was unaffected by naltrexone, supporting the suggestion that the effects of naltrexone were selective for ethanol. These findings support the suggestion that ethanol and cocaine act on different central reward pathways. The implications of these findings for the clinical use of naltrexone in populations with comorbid ethanol and cocaine abuse are discussed.