, Volume 181, Issue 4, pp 781–789 | Cite as

Methylphenidate increases cigarette smoking

  • Craig R. RushEmail author
  • Stephen T. Higgins
  • Andrea R. Vansickel
  • William W. Stoops
  • Joshua A. Lile
  • Paul E. A. Glaser
Original Investigation



Methylphenidate (Ritalin) and d-amphetamine (Dexedrine), stimulants commonly prescribed for behavioral problems associated with atttention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), produce a similar constellation of behavioral effects. The results of previous studies suggest that d-amphetamine increases rates of smoking and the reinforcing effects of smoking. The effects of methylphenidate on smoking have not been assessed although it is the most commonly prescribed pharmacotherapy for ADHD and individuals with ADHD are at increased risk for smoking.


In this experiment the acute effects of a range of doses of methylphenidate (5, 10, 20, and 40 mg) and placebo were assessed in ten cigarette smokers who were not attempting to quit and were without ADHD or other Axis I psychiatric disorders.


Each dose of methylphenidate was tested once, whereas placebo was tested twice. One hour after ingesting drug, participants were allowed to smoke ad libitum for 4 h. Measures of smoking included total cigarettes smoked, total puffs, latency to the first cigarette, and carbon monoxide levels. Snacks and decaffeinated drinks were available ad libitum, and caloric intake during the 4-h smoking session was calculated.


Methylphenidate dose dependently increased the total number of cigarettes smoked, number of puffs, and carbon monoxide levels. As expected, methylphenidate dose dependently decreased the number of food items consumed and caloric intake.


The results of this experiment suggest that methylphenidate, like d-amphetamine, increases rates of cigarette smoking.


Methylphenidate Smoking ADHD Subjective effects Humans 



Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder


analysis of variance




digital video disc


carbon monoxide



The authors wish to thank Frances P. Wagner, R.N., for her expert nursing assistance and Thomas E. Wooters and Angela J. Owens for their expert technical assistance. The National Institute on Drug Abuse grant DA 012665 (C.R.R.) supported this research.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Craig R. Rush
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Stephen T. Higgins
    • 4
  • Andrea R. Vansickel
    • 1
    • 3
  • William W. Stoops
    • 1
    • 3
  • Joshua A. Lile
    • 1
  • Paul E. A. Glaser
    • 2
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of Behavioral Science, College of MedicineUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry, College of MedicineUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Psychology, College of Arts and ScienceUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA
  4. 4.Departments of Psychiatry and Psychology, College of MedicineUniversity of VermontBurlingtonUSA
  5. 5.Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, College of MedicineUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA
  6. 6.Department of Pediatrics, College of MedicineUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA

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