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Lobeline chemical structure

2-[6- (2-hydroxy- 2-phenyl- ethyl)- 1-methyl- 2-piperidyl]- 1-phenyl- ethanone
IUPAC name
CAS number
ATC code


Chemical formula {{{chemical_formula}}}
Molecular weight 337.455
Elimination half-life
Pregnancy category
Legal status
Routes of administration

Lobeline is a natural alkaloid found in "Indian tobacco" (Lobelia inflata), "Devil's tobacco" (Lobelia tupa), "cardinal flower" (Lobelia cardinalis), "great lobelia" (Lobelia siphilitica), and Hippobroma longiflora. In its pure form it is a white amorphous powder which is freely soluble in water.

Lobeline has been used as a smoking cessation aid,[1][2][3] and may have application in the treatment of other drug addictions such as addiction to amphetamines[4][5], cocaine[6] or alcohol.[7].

Lobeline has multiple mechanisms of action, acting as a VMAT2 ligand,[8][9][10] which stimulates dopamine release to a moderate extent when administered alone, but reduces the dopamine release caused by methamphetamine.[11][12] It also inhibits the reuptake of dopamine and serotonin,[13] and acts as a mixed agonist-antagonist at nicotinic acetylcholine receptors[14][15] and an antagonist at μ-opioid receptors.[16]


  1. Stead L, Hughes J (2000). Lobeline for smoking cessation. Cochrane Database Syst Rev (2): CD000124.
  2. Marlow SP, Stoller JK. Smoking cessation. Respiratory Care. 2003 Dec;48(12):1238-56. PMID 14651764
  3. Buchhalter AR, Fant RV, Henningfield JE. Novel pharmacological approaches for treating tobacco dependence and withdrawal : current status. Drugs. 2008;68(8):1067-88. PMID 18484799
  4. Neugebauer NM, Harrod SB, Stairs DJ, Crooks PA, Dwoskin LP, Bardo MT. Lobelane decreases methamphetamine self-administration in rats. European Journal of Pharmacology. 2007 Sep 24;571(1):33-8. PMID 17612524
  5. Eyerman DJ, Yamamoto BK. Lobeline attenuates methamphetamine-induced changes in vesicular monoamine transporter 2 immunoreactivity and monoamine depletions in the striatum. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. 2005 Jan;312(1):160-9. PMID 15331654
  6. Polston JE, Cunningham CS, Rodvelt KR, Miller DK. Lobeline augments and inhibits cocaine-induced hyperactivity in rats. Life Sciences. 2006 Aug 1;79(10):981-90. PMID 16765386
  7. Farook JM, Lewis B, Gaddis JG, Littleton JM, Barron S. Lobeline, a nicotinic partial agonist attenuates alcohol consumption and preference in male C57BL/6J mice. Physiology and Behavior. 2009 Jun 22;97(3-4):503-6. PMID:19268674
  8. Zheng G, Dwoskin LP, Crooks PA. Vesicular monoamine transporter 2: role as a novel target for drug development. AAPS Journal. 2006 Nov 10;8(4):E682-92. PMID 17233532
  9. Zheng F, Zheng G, Deaciuc AG, Zhan CG, Dwoskin LP, Crooks PA. Computational neural network analysis of the affinity of lobeline and tetrabenazine analogs for the vesicular monoamine transporter-2. Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry. 2007 Apr 15;15(8):2975-92. PMID 17331733
  10. Zheng G, Dwoskin LP, Deaciuc AG, Norrholm SD, Crooks PA. Defunctionalized lobeline analogues: structure-activity of novel ligands for the vesicular monoamine transporter. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. 2005 Aug 25;48(17):5551-60. PMID 16107155
  11. Wilhelm CJ, Johnson RA, Eshleman AJ, Janowsky A. Lobeline effects on tonic and methamphetamine-induced dopamine release. Biochemical Pharmacology. 2008 Mar 15;75(6):1411-5. PMID 18191815
  12. Wilhelm CJ, Johnson RA, Lysko PG, Eshleman AJ, Janowsky A. Effects of methamphetamine and lobeline on vesicular monoamine and dopamine transporter-mediated dopamine release in a cotransfected model system. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. 2004 Sep;310(3):1142-51. PMID 15102929
  13. Zheng G, Horton DB, Deaciuc AG, Dwoskin LP, Crooks PA. Des-keto lobeline analogs with increased potency and selectivity at dopamine and serotonin transporters. Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry Letters. 2006 Oct 1;16(19):5018-21. PMID 16905316
  14. Damaj MI, Patrick GS, Creasy KR, Martin BR. Pharmacology of lobeline, a nicotinic receptor ligand. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. 1997 Jul;282(1):410-9. PMID 9223582
  15. Miller DK, Harrod SB, Green TA, Wong MY, Bardo MT, Dwoskin LP. Lobeline attenuates locomotor stimulation induced by repeated nicotine administration in rats. Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behaviour. 2003 Jan;74(2):279-86. PMID 12479946
  16. Miller DK, Lever JR, Rodvelt KR, Baskett JA, Will MJ, Kracke GR. Lobeline, a potential pharmacotherapy for drug addiction, binds to mu opioid receptors and diminishes the effects of opioid receptor agonists. Drug and Alcohol Dependence. 2007 Jul 10;89(2-3):282-91. PMID 17368966


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