Behavioral and physiological effects of cocaine in humans following triazolam

Jamie L. Haga, Robert W. Baker, Craig R. Rush

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Rationale: Cocaine abuse represents a significant public health problem. Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) agonists may attenuate the behavioral effects of cocaine and may be effective pharmacotherapies for cocaine abuse and dependence. Objectives: The aim of this experiment was to determine the combined effects of oral cocaine (0 and 300 mg) and triazolam (0 and 0.5 mg), a GABAA modulator, in 10 individuals with recent histories of cocaine use. Methods: Volunteers received each of the four possible drug combinations in mixed order. Drug effects were assessed using a battery of subject-rated drug-effect questionnaires and physiological indices. Results: Cocaine alone produced prototypical stimulant-like subject-rated drug effects (e.g., increased ratings of High, Like Drug, and Willing to Take Drug Again). Triazolam alone produced sedative-like effects (e.g., increased scores on the Pentobarbital, Chlorpromazine, Alcohol Group [PCAG] scale of the Addiction Research Center Inventory [ARCI]). Triazolam pretreatment did not significantly attenuate the subject-rated effects of cocaine. Conclusions: While the results of this study do not support the utility of GABAA modulators as pharmacotherapies for cocaine abuse, future research should test other benzodiazepines (e.g., alprazolam) using more sophisticated methods (e.g., dose-response curves for the drugs alone and in combination) and behavioral arrangements (e.g., drug discrimination).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-392
Number of pages10
JournalPharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Dec 2003

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The National Institute on Drug Abuse Grant DA 10325 13567 (C.R.R.) supported this research. The authors are also grateful to Richard L. Ogletree Jr., PharmD, for preparing the medications, and Catherine A. Hayes, MA, Josephine M. Gates, BS, and Keionna N. Jiles, BS, for their expert technical assistance. Finally, the authors are grateful to the entire staff of the General Inpatient Psychiatry Unit at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.


  • Cocaine
  • Drug abuse
  • Humans
  • Physiological effects
  • Subjective effects
  • Triazolam

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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