Brain dopamine neurotransmission appears to be an important component of the neural pathways involved in the maintenance of intravenous (IV) cocaine self-administration in rats. The effects of a novel partial dopamine agonist, SDZ 208-911, on intravenous cocaine self-administration in rats was studied. SDZ 208-911 at a dose range of 0.025-1.6 mg/kg SC dose-dependently increased the number of lever presses and drug intake in rats exposed to limited (3-h) daily access to cocaine on a continuous reinforcement schedule (0.75 mg/kg per injection). This behavioral profile is similar to that observed following administration of dopamine antagonist drugs and has been hypothesized to reflect a compensatory increase in drug intake due to a reduction of the reinforcing efficacy of the drug, probably because of functional antagonism at the receptor site. These results suggest that dopamine partial agonists may act as functional dopamine antagonists in the face of pharmacologically induced activation of brain dopamine function.