Self-injection of barbiturates, benzodiazepines and other sedative-anxiolytics in baboons

Roland R. Griffiths, R. J. Lamb, Christine A. Sannerud, Nancy A. Ator, Joseph V. Brady

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


Self-injection of 12 sedative-anxiolytics was examined in baboons. Intravenous injections and initiation of a 3-h time-out were dependent upon completion of a fixed-ratio schedule requirement, permitting eight injections per day. Before testing each dose of drug, self-injection performance was established with cocaine. Subsequently, a test dose was substituted for cocaine. At some doses, all five of the benzodiazepines examined (alprazolam, bromazepam, chlordiazepoxide, lorazepam, triazolam) maintained rates (number of injections per day) of drug self-injection above vehicle control in each of the baboons tested. Maximum rates of benzodiazepine self-injection were generally submaximal. Of the benzodiazepines examined, triazolam maintained the highest rates of self-injection. Among the three barbiturates tested, methohexital generally maintained high rates of self-injection in contrast to hexobarbital and phenobarbital, which only maintained low rates. Of the four non-benzodiazepine non-barbiturate sedatives examined, both chloral hydrate and methyprylon occasionally maintained high rates of self-injection. Although there were differences within and across animals, baclofen maintained intermediate rates of self-injection. The novel anxiolytic buspirone maintained only low rates of self-injection that were not different from vehicle. This study further validates the self-injection methodology for assessing sedative-anxiolytic abuse liability and provides new information about drug elimination rate as a determinant of drug self-administration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)154-161
Number of pages8
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • Anxiolytics
  • Baboons
  • Barbiturates
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Drug abuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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