Dose titration with the glucagon-like peptide-1 agonist, liraglutide, reduces cue- and drug-induced heroin seeking in high drug-taking rats

Brianna Evans, Brooke Stoltzfus, Nikhil Acharya, Jennifer E. Nyland, Amy C. Arnold, Christopher S. Freet, Scott C. Bunce, Patricia S. Grigson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Opioid use disorder (OUD), like other substance use disorders (SUDs), is widely understood to be a disorder of persistent relapse. Despite the use of three FDA-approved medications for OUD, typically in conjunction with behavioral treatments, relapse rates remain unacceptably high. Whereas medication assisted therapy (MAT) reduces the risk of opioid overdose mortality, the benefits of MAT are negated when people discontinue the medications. Currently approved medications present barriers to efficient use, including daily visits to a treatment center or work restrictions. With spiking increases in opioid relapse and death, it is imperative to identify new treatments that can reduce the risk of relapse. Recent evidence suggests that glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1RAs), currently FDA-approved to treat obesity and type two diabetes, may be promising candidates to reduce relapse. GLP-1RAs have been shown to reduce relapse in rats, whether elicited by cues, drug, and/or stress. However, GLP-1RAs also can cause gastrointestinal malaise, and therefore, in humans, the medication typically is titrated up to full dose when initiating treatment. Here, we used a rodent model to test whether cue- and drug-induced heroin seeking can be reduced by the GLP-1RA, liraglutide, when the dose is titrated across the abstinence period and prior to test. The results show this titration regimen is effective in reducing both cue-induced heroin seeking and drug-induced reinstatement of heroin seeking, particularly in rats with a history of high drug-taking. Importantly, this treatment regimen had no effect on either circulating glucose or insulin. GLP-1RAs, then, appear strong candidates for the non-opioid prevention of relapse to opioids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-173
Number of pages11
JournalBrain Research Bulletin
Volume189
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 15 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience

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