Physiological and subjective effects of acute intranasal methamphetamine during atomoxetine maintenance

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7 Scopus citations


Rationale: Methamphetamine abuse and dependence are significant public-health concerns. Behavioral therapies are effective for reducing methamphetamine use. However, many patients enrolled in behavioral therapies are unable to achieve significant periods of abstinence suggesting other strategies like pharmacotherapy are needed. Objectives: This experiment determined the physiological and subjective effects of acutely administered intranasal methamphetamine during atomoxetine maintenance in seven non-treatment seeking stimulant-dependent participants. Atomoxetine was chosen for study because it blocks reuptake at the norepinephrine transporter and increases extracellular dopamine levels in the prefrontal cortex. In this way, atomoxetine might function as an agonist replacement therapy for stimulant-dependent patients. Methods: After at least 7 days of maintenance on atomoxetine (0 and 80 mg/day), participants were administered ascending doses of intranasal methamphetamine (0, 5, 10, 20 and 30 mg) across two experimental sessions. Intranasal methamphetamine doses were separated by 90 min. Results: Intranasal methamphetamine produced prototypical physiological and subjective effects (e.g., increased heart rate, blood pressure, temperature and subjective ratings of Good Effects). Atomoxetine maintenance augmented the heart rate-increasing effects of methamphetamine, but attenuated the pressor effects. The subjective effects of intranasal methamphetamine were similar during atomoxetine and placebo maintenance. Conclusions: These results suggest that methamphetamine can be safely administered to participants maintained on atomoxetine, but whether it might be an effective pharmacotherapy for methamphetamine dependence remains to be determined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-47
Number of pages8
JournalPharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse ( R01 DA025032 to Craig R. Rush and K01 DA018772 to Joshua A. Lile) and by the University of Kentucky CR-DOC . The authors have no financial relationships with these funding sources and declare no conflicts of interest relevant to this project. The authors wish to thank Bryan Hall, Michelle Gray, Erika Pike and Sarah Veenema for technical assistance and Frances Wagner for medical assistance.


  • Atomoxetine
  • Humans
  • Methamphetamine
  • Pharmacotherapy
  • Physiological effects
  • Subjective effects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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