Drug Side Effects > Conditioned Taste (Flavor) Aversion


In the conditioned taste aversion test, rats are given two water bottles from which to drink.  One is filled with plain water and the other is filled with water to which a small amount of saccharin or sucrose has been added.  After a conditioning period, the rats are injected with either a test drug or a saline solution.

The rats are returned to their cages and observed to determine whether they avoid the water bottle filled with sweet-tasting water, which would suggest a learned aversion to the solution, i.e., they associated the sweet-tasting water with a negative reaction (e.g., gastrointestinal malaise) that was actually caused by the injected drug. 


Conditioned taste aversion is a useful test for determining whether a drug causes gastrointestinal side effects.