Methadone and feeding: Sources of differences between home cage and operant chamber assessment procedures

J. M. Rudski, D. W. Schaal, T. Thompson, J. Cleary, C. J. Billington, A. S. Levine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Methadone administration is reported to increase food intake in studies examining free feeding and to decrease food reinforced operant responding. In light of this apparent paradox, the present study evaluated methadone's effects on food reinforced operant responding under conditions more typical of free feeding studies than operant studies. The effect of methadone (5 mg/kg) on food intake was examined in rats maintained at 100% of their free feeding weights. Methadone did not increase food intake with food available under a fixed ratio 1 (FR 1) reinforcement schedule. Methadone did not alter response rate when each lever press produced a larger reinforcer (225 mg as opposed to 45 mg), but did increase food intake. When response requirements were changed from lever pressing to interruption of an infrared beam, increases in food intake following methadone administration were observed. Thus, the differences between methadone's effects on free feeding vs. operant chamber food intake may be due to procedural factors such as magnitude of reinforcement and response requirements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-146
Number of pages4
JournalPharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1994


  • Feeding
  • Methadone
  • Operant
  • Opiates

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