[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Alcohol use disorder, characterized by modest levels of alcohol use, commonly occurs in patients with schizophrenia and dramatically worsens their course. Recent data indicate that the atypical antipsychotic clozapine, but not the typical antipsychotic haloperidol, decreases alcohol drinking both in patients with schizophrenia and also in the Syrian golden hamster, an animal model of moderate alcohol drinking. The present study was designed to assess the comparative effects of clozapine and haloperidol in the alcohol-preferring (P) rat, an animal model of alcoholism. First, the study investigated the comparative effects of clozapine and haloperidol on initiation of alcohol consumption in P rats, which models the early stage of alcoholism. Second, the study assessed the comparative effects of clozapine and haloperidol on maintenance of chronic alcohol consumption in P rats to provide a clue as to whether either drug may also limit alcohol consumption in alcohol-dependent patients. Clozapine attenuated the initiation of alcohol drinking and development of alcohol preference while haloperidol did not. However, neither clozapine nor haloperidol attenuated maintenance of chronic alcohol drinking. Taken together, the current data suggest that clozapine, but not haloperidol, may be effective at reducing alcohol abuse or non-dependent drinking and the P rat, used within an alcohol initiation paradigm, and may differentiate the effects of clozapine and haloperidol on alcohol drinking.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Emerging evidence suggests that the atypical antipsychotic clozapine decreases alcohol consumption in patients with schizophrenia, while typical antipsychotics, all of which are potent dopamine (DA) D2 receptor antagonists, do not. We have proposed that clozapine, through its weak DA D2 receptor blocking action, coupled with its ability to potentiate noradrenergic and serotonergic activity, may ameliorate a dysfunction in the mesocorticolimbic DA reward circuitry that underlies alcohol use disorder in patients with schizophrenia. In prior studies, we have demonstrated that clozapine also decreases alcohol drinking in the Syrian golden hamster, but haloperidol does not. The purposes of the current study were: (1) to further assess the effect of clozapine (2 or 4 mg/kg/day, s.c.) on alcohol consumption in hamsters, using a continuous access, 2-bottle choice paradigm; and (2) to examine whether clozapine's effect on alcohol drinking is affected by increasing its DA D2 blockade through adjunctive use of the potent DA D2 receptor antagonist raclopride (2, 4, or 6 mg/kg/day, s.c.). The major findings were: (1) clozapine suppressed both initiation and maintenance of alcohol drinking in hamsters; and (2) these effects of clozapine were lessened when raclopride was given adjunctively with clozapine. These data suggest that clozapine may limit alcohol drinking in the golden hamster (and possibly in patients with schizophrenia) in part because of its weak blockade of the DA D2 receptor.