The 5-HT2C receptor agonist lorcaserin reduces nicotine self-administration, discrimination, and reinstatement: relationship to feeding behavior and impulse control

Neuropsychopharmacology. 2012 Apr;37(5):1177-91. doi: 10.1038/npp.2011.303. Epub 2011 Dec 21.


Lorcaserin ((1R)-8-chloro-1-methyl-2,3,4,5-tetrahydro-1H-3-benzazepine HCl) is a selective 5-HT(2C) receptor agonist with clinical efficacy in phase-III obesity trials. Based on evidence that this drug class also affects behaviors motivated by drug reinforcement, we compared the effect of lorcaserin on behavior maintained by food and nicotine reinforcement, as well as the stimulant and discriminative stimulus properties of nicotine in the rat. Acutely administered lorcaserin (0.3-3 mg/kg, subcutaneous (SC)) dose dependently reduced feeding induced by 22-h food deprivation or palatability. Effects up to 1 mg/kg were consistent with a specific effect on feeding motivation. Lorcaserin (0.6-1 mg/kg, SC) reduced operant responding for food on progressive and fixed ratio schedules of reinforcement. In this dose range lorcaserin also reversed the motor stimulant effect of nicotine, reduced intravenous self-administration of nicotine, and attenuated the nicotine cue in rats trained to discriminate nicotine from saline. Lorcaserin also reduced the reinstatement of nicotine-seeking behavior elicited by a compound cue comprising a nicotine prime and conditioned stimulus previously paired with nicotine reinforcement. Lorcaserin did not reinstate nicotine-seeking behavior or substitute for a nicotine cue. Finally, lorcaserin (0.3-1 mg/kg) reduced nicotine-induced increases in anticipatory responding, a measure of impulsive action, in rats performing the five-choice serial reaction time task. Importantly, these results indicate that lorcaserin, and likely other selective 5-HT(2C) receptor agonists, similarly affect both food- and nicotine-motivated behaviors, and nicotine-induced impulsivity. Collectively, these findings highlight a therapeutic potential for 5-HT(2C) agonists such as lorcaserin beyond obesity into addictive behaviors, such as nicotine dependence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aminopyridines / pharmacology
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Benzazepines / pharmacology*
  • Choice Behavior / drug effects
  • Conditioning, Operant / drug effects*
  • Discrimination, Psychological / drug effects*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Administration Routes
  • Eating / drug effects
  • Feeding Behavior / drug effects
  • Impulsive Behavior / drug therapy
  • Indoles / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Nicotine / administration & dosage*
  • Nicotinic Agonists / administration & dosage*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Reaction Time / drug effects
  • Reinforcement, Psychology*
  • Rotarod Performance Test
  • Self Administration
  • Serotonin Receptor Agonists / pharmacology*


  • 6-chloro-5-methyl-1-((2-(2-methylpyrid-3-yloxy)pyrid-5-yl)carbamoyl)indoline
  • Aminopyridines
  • Benzazepines
  • Indoles
  • Nicotinic Agonists
  • Serotonin Receptor Agonists
  • lorcaserin
  • Nicotine