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Neurotoxicol Teratol. 1991 Jul-Aug;13(4):377-86.

Interactive effects of prenatal alcohol and cocaine exposures on postnatal mortality, development and behavior in the Long-Evans rat.

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  • 1Fetal Alcohol Research Center, Detroit, MI 48201.

Erratum in

  • Neurotoxicol Teratol 1991 Sep-Oct;133(5):567.


Polydrug abuse has increased substantially in recent years amongst obstetric patients. One of the most common drug combinations is alcohol and cocaine. To better understand the adverse consequences of this drug combination on pregnancy and the offspring, alcohol (2 g/kg, b.i.d.) and cocaine HCl (30 mg/kg, b.i.d.) were administered individually and in combination to separate groups of pregnant Long-Evans rats from gestation days 7-20. The pregnant dams were evaluated for maternal weight gain, food and water consumption, mortality, and gestational length. The offspring were evaluated for physical maturation, mortality, and behavior. The drug combination was found to have greater effects regarding decreased birth weight, increased postnatal mortality, and delayed physical maturation than either drug alone. Drug treatments also influenced activity monitor behavior in that prenatal cocaine exposure was associated with hypoactivity while the alcohol and the alcohol-plus-cocaine treatments were associated with hyperactivity in periweanling pups. Drug treatments had no significant effects on passive or active avoidance behaviors. These results suggest that combining alcohol and cocaine increases the risk to the offspring.

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