, Volume 157, Issue 1, pp 75-81

Methamphetamine self-administration by humans

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Rationale: Methamphetamine abuse has become increasingly problematic. Yet, the reinforcing effects of methamphetamine in humans have not been systematically evaluated. Objective: To characterize methamphetamine's reinforcing effects in human research participants under controlled laboratory conditions. Methods: Eight healthy research volunteers (one female, seven males) completed this 20-day residential study. On days 1, 5, 9, 13 and 17, at 1000 hours, participants received the "sample" oral dose of methamphetamine (0, 5, 10 mg) that was available for the next 3 days and they also received an alternative reinforcer, a $1 voucher (redeemable for cash at study's end). Over a 3-day period, volunteers participated in an eight-trial choice procedure, during which they had the opportunity to self-administer the dose of methamphetamine they most recently sampled or to receive the $1 voucher. Results: Participants' choice to self-administer methamphetamine significantly increased when active methamphetamine (5 mg and 10 mg) was available compared to placebo. No difference of choice was noted between low-dose and high-dose methamphetamine. However, the sampled 10 mg methamphetamine dose significantly increased several "positive" subjective ratings including "High," "Good Drug Effect," and "Stimulated," whereas the sampled 5 mg methamphetamine dose did not. Both active methamphetamine doses caused significant reductions in daily total caloric intake, relative to the respective placebo conditions. Conclusion: These data demonstrate that oral methamphetamine is a positive reinforcer in humans.

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