Acute physiological and behavioral effects of oral cocaine in humans: A dose-response analysis

Craig R. Rush, Robert W. Baker, Ken Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


The present study was designed to assess the acute physiological and behavioral effects of a wide range of doses of oral cocaine HCL (placebo, 50, 100, 200, and 300 mg). Nine volunteers (eight males and one female) with recent histories of cocaine use resided on a general inpatient psychiatry unit while they participated. Drug doses were administered in a double-blind fashion under medical supervision, but for safety purposes, they were administered in ascending order. The physiological, subject-rated, and performance effects of oral cocaine HCL were assessed before drug administration and periodically afterwards for 5 h. Oral cocaine HCL increased heart rate and blood pressure as a graded function of dose, but the magnitude of these effects were not clinically significant. Oral cocaine HCL produced positive subject-rated drug effects (e.g. increased ratings of good effects, like drug, and willing to take again), but did not affect performance. Consistent with the pharmacokinetics of oral cocaine HCL, drug effects were generally discernible from placebo 0.5-1 h after administration, peaked approximately 1 h after administration, and progressively abated during the remainder of the experimental session. The results of this experiment demonstrate that across a six-fold range of doses oral cocaine HCL is well tolerated by individuals with recent histories of cocaine use and can be safely administered under controlled laboratory and medical conditions. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jun 1 1999

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse Grant DA 10325 (Craig R. Rush). The authors are most to grateful to the nine volunteers that consented to participate in this experiment. The authors are also grateful to Richard L. Ogletree Jr., Pharm.D. for preparing the medications, and Catherine A. Hayes, B.S., Josephine M. Gates, B.S., Keionna N. Jiles, B.S., Doris J. Wilson, B.S., Sharon C. Erwin, R.N., and Kimberly W. Fleming, R.N. for their expert technical and nursing assistance. Finally, the authors are grateful to the entire staff of the general inpatient psychiatry unit at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.


  • Behavioral effects
  • Cocaine
  • Drug abuse
  • Humans
  • Physiological effects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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