S. Stevens Negus, Ph.D.


S. Stevens Negus, Ph.D.

Department: Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology

Phone: (804) 828-3158

Fax: (804) 828-2117

Email: sidney.negus@vcuhealth.org

Robert Blackwell Smith Building, Room 760B
410 North 12th Street
Box 980613
Richmond, Virginia 23298


  • Ph.D., neurobiology. University of North Carolina, 1990

Research interests

  • Pharmacology of the analgesic and abuse-related effects of opioid analgesics
  • Development of medications to treat opioid and CNS stimulant addiction
  • Development of novel procedures to assess analgesia and drug reinforcement
  • Strategies for assessment of drug interactions

Morphine-like opioid drugs are widely used to treat strong pain, but their use is limited by side effects that include high-abuse liability. Our laboratory is engaged in research to study factors that influence these pain-killing and abuse-related effects of opioids. Our studies are giving us new insights into the mechanisms and potential interactions of pain and addiction, and we are also pioneering new strategies for development of safer analgesics with reduced abuse liability.

This central theme of our work has also stimulated research in three other directions. First, we are working with medicinal chemistry colleagues to develop new medications that might be used to treat abuse of opioids and of CNS stimulants like cocaine. Second, we are developing novel and more sophisticated procedures to measure behaviors related to pain and addiction. Finally, our work has led us to develop and refine experimental strategies for the study of drug interactions.

Selected References (Reverse Chronology)



Banks ML, Negus SS.  Insights from preclinical choice models on treating drug addiction.  Trends Pharmacol Sci, 2016; in press.  PMC Journal-In process

Negus SS, Henningfield J. Agonist medications for the treatment of cocaine use disorder.  Invited “Circumspectives” Article: Neuropsychopharmacology, 2015; 40:1815-1825.  PMCID:  PMC4839506

Negus SS, Miller LL.  Intracranial self-stimulation (ICSS) to evaluate abuse potential of drugs.  Pharmacol Rev, 2014; 66:869-917.  PMCID: PMC4081730

Primary Research Articles

Banks ML, Negus SS.  Repeated 7-day treatment effects with the 5-HT2C agonist lorcaserin and the 5-HT2A antagonist pimavanserin alone or in combination on cocaine vs. food choice in rhesus monkeys.  Neuropsychopharmacology, 2016; in press.  PMC Journal-In process.

Lazenka MF, Suyama JS, Bauer CT, Banks ML, Negus SS.  Sex differences in abuse-related neurochemical and behavioral effects of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) in rats.  Pharmacol Biochem Behav, 2016; In press.  PMC Journal-In process.  In Special Issue on Sex Differences in Psychopharmacology

Johnson AR, Banks ML, Blough BE, Lile JA, Nicholson KL, Negus SS.  Development of a translational model to screen medications for cocaine use disorder I: Choice between cocaine and food in rhesus monkeys.  Drug Alcohol Depend, 2016; 165:103-110.  PMCID: PMC4939093

Bonano JS, Glennon RA, De Felice LJ, Banks ML, Negus SS.  Abuse-related and abuse-limiting effects of methcathinone and the “bath salts” cathinone derivatives methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), methylone and mephedrone on intracranial self-stimulation in rats.  Psychopharmacology, 2014; 231:199-207. PMCID: PMC3877726


Review Articles

Negus SS.  Expression and treatment of pain-related behavioral depression.  Lab Animal, 2013; 42:292-300.  PMC Journal-In process

Negus SS, Altarifi AA. Mu, delta and kappa opioid agonist effects in novel assays of pain-depressed behavior.  In:  Ko H, Husbands, S, editors. Research and Development of Opioid-Related Ligands.  American Chemical Society, Washington, DC. 2013, pp. 163-176.  DOI: 10.1021/bk-2013-1131.ch009

Negus SS, Bilsky EJ, Pereira Do Carmo G, Stevenson GW.  Rationale and methods for assessment of pain-depressed behavior in preclinical assays of pain and analgesia.  In: Szallasi A, editor. Methods in Molecular Biology: Analgesia.  Humana Press, New York, 2010; pp. 79-91.

Primary Research Articles

Leitl MD, Negus SS.  Pharmacological modulation of neuropathic pain-related depression of behavior: Effects of morphine, ketoprofen, bupropion and ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol on formalin-induced depression of intracranial self-stimulation in rats.  Behav Pharmacol, 2016; 27:364-376.  PMCID: PMC4842121

Negus SS, Neddenriep B, Altarifi AA, Carroll FI, Leitl MD, Miller LL.  Effects of ketoprofen, morphine, and kappa opioids on pain-related depression of nesting in mice.  Pain, 2015; 156:1153-1160.  PMCID: PMC4766843

Altarifi AA, Negus SS.  Differential tolerance to morphine antinociception in assays of pain-stimulated vs. pain-depressed behavior in rats.  Eur J Pharmacol, 2015; 748:76-82.  PMCID: PMC4314312

Miller LL, Leitl MD, Banks ML, Blough BE, Negus SS. Effects of the triple monoamine uptake inhibitor amitifadine on pain-related depression of behavior and mesolimbic dopamine release in rats.  Pain, 2015; 156:175-84.  PMCID: PMC4351716

Back to Listing