Self-injection of barbiturates and benzodiazepines in baboons

Roland R. Griffiths, Scott E. Lukas, L. Di Anne Bradford, Joseph V. Brady, Jack D. Snell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


Self-injection of three barbiturates, six benzodiazepines, and chlorpromazine was examined in baboons. Intravenous injections of drug were dependent upon completion of 160 lever presses (a 160-response fixed-ratio schedule). A 3-h time-out period followed each injection, permitting a maximum of eight injections per day. Prior to testing each dose of drug, self-injection performance was established with cocaine. Subsequently, a test dose was substituted for cocaine. Amobarbital, pentobarbital, and secobarbital maintained the highest levels of self-injection, which were similar to those maintained by cocaine. Clonazepam, clorazepate, diazepam, flurazepam, medazepam, and midazolam maintained relatively modest levels of self-injection, while chlorpromazine maintained only low levels, which were in the range of vehicle control. Of the six benzodiazepines, midazolam produced the highest levels of self-injection. At the highest self-injected doses, the barbiturates produced anesthesia in contrast to the benzodiazepines, which produced only sedation. None of the drugs affected food intake except for chlorpromazine, which produced dose-related decreases. The differences among the drug classes (i.e., barbiturate, benzodiazepine, phenothiazine) with respect to the maintenance of self-injection correspond well with the results of previous animal and human drug self-administration studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-109
Number of pages9
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 1981


  • Amobarbital
  • Baboons
  • Chlorpromazine
  • Clonazepam
  • Clorazepate
  • Cocaine
  • Diazepam
  • Drug self-administration
  • Flurazepam
  • Medazepam
  • Midazolam
  • Pentobarbital
  • Secobarbital

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


Dive into the research topics of 'Self-injection of barbiturates and benzodiazepines in baboons'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this