• conditioned place preference;
  • addiction;
  • opioid analgesics;
  • drug abuse


The number of prescriptions for hydrocodone-containing opioid analgesics has greatly increased over the past decade. This increase has led to an associated enhancement in the nonmedical use of hydrocodone products. There is a lack of evidence to determine the extent of the rewarding effects and signal transduction properties of hydrocodone. Therefore, this study aimed to examine the rewarding properties of hydrocodone (1 and 5 mg/kg) and morphine (1 and 5 mg/kg) using the conditioned place preference paradigm (CPP) in rats. Both hydrocodone and morphine produced a CPP at the 5 mg/kg dose, but not the lower 1 mg/kg dose, suggesting that both drugs possess similar rewarding properties in the CPP paradigm. Moreover, hydrocodone and morphine equally reduced phosphorylation levels of ERK and CREB proteins in the nucleus accumbens, suggesting that both drugs exert their effects through signal transduction pathways known to be involved in drug reward and reinforcement. These findings suggest that hydrocodone should be viewed as similarly capable of producing rewarding and euphoric properties as morphine. Synapse 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.