CP-809,101 is a potent, functionally selective 5-HT(2C) agonist that displays approximately 100% efficacy in vitro. The aim of the present studies was to assess the efficacy of a selective 5-HT(2C) agonist in animal models predictive of antipsychotic-like efficacy and side-effect liability. Similar to currently available antipsychotic drugs, CP-809,101 dose-dependently inhibited conditioned avoidance responding (CAR, ED(50)=4.8 mg/kg, sc). The efficacy of CP-809,101 in CAR was completely antagonized by the concurrent administration of the 5-HT(2C) receptor antagonist, SB-224,282. CP-809,101 antagonized both PCP- and d-amphetamine-induced hyperactivity with ED(50) values of 2.4 and 2.9 mg/kg (sc), respectively and also reversed an apomorphine induced-deficit in prepulse inhibition. At doses up to 56 mg/kg, CP-809,101 did not produce catalepsy. Thus, the present results demonstrate that the 5-HT(2C) agonist, CP-809,101, has a pharmacological profile similar to that of the atypical antipsychotics with low extrapyramidal symptom liability. CP-809,101 was inactive in two animal models of antidepressant-like activity, the forced swim test and learned helplessness. However, CP-809,101 was active in novel object recognition, an animal model of cognitive function. These data suggest that 5-HT(2C) agonists may be a novel approach in the treatment of psychosis as well as for the improvement of cognitive dysfunction associated with schizophrenia.