Discriminative-stimulus, subject-rated, and physiological effects of methamphetamine in humans pretreated with aripiprazole

Rajkumar J. Sevak, Andrea R. Vansickel, William W. Stoops, Paul E.A. Glaser, Lon R. Hays, Craig R. Rush

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Methamphetamine is thought to produce its behavioral effects by facilitating release of dopamine, serotonin (5-HT) and norepinephrine. Results from animal studies support this notion, whereas results from human laboratory studies have not consistently demonstrated the importance of monoamine systems in the behavioral effects of methamphetamine. Human drug-discrimination procedures are well suited to assess neuropharmacological mechanisms of the training drug by studying pharmacological manipulation. In this human laboratory study, 6 participants with a history of recreational stimulant use learned to discriminate 10 mg oral methamphetamine. After acquiring the discrimination (ie, ≥ 80% correct responding on 4 consecutive sessions), the effects of a range of doses of methamphetamine (0, 2.5, 5, 10, and 15 mg), alone and in combination with 0 and 20 mg aripiprazole (a partial agonist at D2 and 5-HT1A receptors), were assessed. Methamphetamine alone functioned as a discriminative stimulus, produced prototypical stimulant-like subject-rated drug effects (eg, increased ratings of Good Effects, Talkative-Friendly, and Willing to Pay For) and elevated cardiovascular indices. Theseeffects were generally a function of dose. Aripiprazole alone did not occasion methamphetamine- appropriate responding or produce subject-rated effects but modestly impaired performance. Administration of aripiprazole significantly attenuated the discriminative-stimulus and cardiovascular effects of methamphetamine, as well as some of the subject-rated drug effects. These results indicate that monoamine systems likely play a role in the behavioral effects of methamphetamine in humans. Moreover, given the concordance between past results with d-amphetamine and the present findings, d-amphetamine can likely serve as a model for the pharmacological effects of methamphetamine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)470-480
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Clinical Psychopharmacology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2011


  • aripiprazole
  • drug-discrimination
  • methamphetamine
  • stimulant abuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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