The effect of N-acetylcysteine or bupropion on methamphetamine self-administration and methamphetamine–triggered reinstatement of female rats

Sergios Charntikov, Steven T. Pittenger, Cindy M. Pudiak, Rick A. Bevins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


N-acetylcysteine and bupropion are two promising candidate medications for treatment of substance use disorder. The effects of N-acetylcysteine or bupropion on methamphetamine self-administration of female rats are not well understood. To fill this gap, this study assessed the effects of N-acetylcysteine (0, 30, 60, or 120 mg/kg) and bupropion (0, 10, 30, and 60 mg/kg) on methamphetamine self-administration of female rats across the natural estrous cycle. Following a completed dose-response curve, responding for methamphetamine self-administration was extinguished and the effects of N-acetylcysteine or bupropion on methamphetamine-triggered reinstatement was evaluated in separate experiments. N-acetylcysteine did not decrease responding maintained by methamphetamine or methamphetamine-triggered reinstatement. Bupropion significantly decreased methamphetamine self-administration and methamphetamine-triggered reinstatement in female rats with highest dose (60 mg/kg) also significantly decreasing general chamber activity. In a companion experiment, testing the effect of bupropion on responding maintained by sucrose, we confirmed non-specificity of bupropion's effects as bupropion also decreased responding for sucrose. Considered together, our findings suggest that while N-acetylcysteine has considerable promise for treatment of cocaine dependence it may not generalize to other stimulants like methamphetamine. Furthermore, although bupropion has been shown to effectively decrease methamphetamine self-administration, and presently methamphetamine-triggered reinstatement, its locomotor and reward suppressing effects warrant further investigation including both sexes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)487-495
Number of pages9
StatePublished - Jun 2018



  • Bupropion
  • Drug self-administration
  • Female rat
  • Methamphetamine
  • N-Acetyl-L-cysteine
  • N-acetylcysteine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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