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Drug Alcohol Depend. 1999 Feb 1;53(3):223-30.

Comparing levels of cocaine cue reactivity in male and female outpatients.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA.


Thirty-eight female and 26 male cocaine-dependent outpatients were exposed to cocaine cues in a laboratory setting. Stimuli consisted of an audiotape of patients discussing cocaine use, a videotape of simulated cocaine preparation and use, and the handling of cocaine paraphernalia. Overall, the stimuli produced significant decreases in skin temperature and skin resistance, and significant increases in heart rate, self-reported drug states (high, craving, and withdrawal), and self-reported negative moods. Females were more likely to report increased craving in response to the cues than males, but there were no other gender differences in any of the responses. Levels of reactivity in females were comparable to the results of previous studies with all male samples. These results support the use of a constant set of cues in future treatment studies employing gender-balanced patient samples.

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