Diazepam self-administration and resistance to extinction

Kathleen A. Grant, Chris Ellyn Johanson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Self-administration behavior was maintained by a unit dose of 0.03 mg/kg diazepam in 4 of 5 monkeys trained to respond on a lever by successive approximation using diazepam or saline. A dose-response function was determined using diazepam doses ranging between 0.01 and 0.3 mg/kg/infusion. Peak rates of responding occurred at doses of 0.01 or 0.03 mg/kg/infusion and drug intake was directly related to dose. When saline was substituted for diazepam either before or again after the dose-response function was determined, levels of responding remained unexpectedly high, even after as many as 16 consecutive sessions. The rates of responding maintained under extinction conditions appeared to be directly related to the amount of diazepam previously self-administered. For instance, monkeys which did not initially have high rates of responding for saline showed increases in responding after additional exposure to diazepam. Furthermore, the one monkey with low diazepam self-administration rates also had low rates of responding for saline. However, following a period of cocaine self-administration, responding declined in all monkeys when saline was substituted for cocaine. The data suggest that diazepam self-administration affects responding under extinction conditions, an effect which makes the interpretation of diazepam's reinforcing properties difficult.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-86
Number of pages6
JournalPharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1987
Externally publishedYes


  • Cocaine
  • Diazepam
  • Drug self-administration Monkeys
  • Extinction
  • Reinforcing efficacy
  • Response perseveration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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