The effects of diazepam and zolpidem on cocaine- and amphetamine-induced place preference

Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1999 Jan;62(1):159-64. doi: 10.1016/s0091-3057(98)00139-7.


Drugs such as benzodiazepines, which enhance the effects of inhibitory neurotransmitter gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA), are known to modulate the mesocorticolimbic dopaminergic system, which is considered to mediate the rewarding effects of psychostimulants. The effects of diazepam, a benzodiazepine that binds unspecifically to omega 1- (omega1-) and omega2-receptors, and zolpidem, a nonbenzodiazepine drug that binds preferentially to omega1-receptors, on cocaine- and amphetamine-induced place preference were evaluated in Wistar rats. In tests using the counterbalanced method, neither diazepam (0.2, 1, and 5 mg/kg) nor zolpidem (2.5, 5, and 10 mg/kg) alone induced place preference or place aversion. Diazepam pretreatment prevented both cocaine- and amphetamine-induced (15 and 9 mg/kg, respectively) place preference; however, at doses that were earlier shown to cause sedation and amnesia, zolpidem failed to prevent either cocaine- or amphetamine-induced place preference. These results suggest that diazepam interferes with the rewarding properties of the psychostimulants, whereas zolpidem is less effective in this respect, possibly due to differential distribution of omega1- and omega2-receptors in the brain.

MeSH terms

  • Amphetamine / pharmacology*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Cocaine / pharmacology*
  • Conditioning, Psychological / drug effects*
  • Diazepam / administration & dosage
  • Diazepam / pharmacology*
  • Dopamine Agents / pharmacology*
  • Drug Interactions
  • GABA Modulators / administration & dosage
  • GABA Modulators / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Pyridines / administration & dosage
  • Pyridines / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Zolpidem


  • Dopamine Agents
  • GABA Modulators
  • Pyridines
  • Zolpidem
  • Amphetamine
  • Cocaine
  • Diazepam