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Behav Pharmacol. 1994 Jun;5(3):281-288.

Reinforcing and subjective effects of methylphenidate in humans.

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Drug Abuse Research Center, Department of Psychiatry, MC3077, The Pritzker School of Medicine, The University of Chicago, 5841 S. Maryland Ave, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.


This study assessed the reinforcing and subjective effects of methylphenidate in a group of 35 adults (15 females and 20 males) with no history of drug dependence. A discrete-trial choice procedure was used to assess the reinforcing effects of a single oral dose of methylphenidate selected to produce a moderate subjective response in each subject (range 20-40mg). A number of variables (gender, current and past drug use, personality, and baseline mood and arousal) were examined in an attempt to identify sources of variability in drug response. Methylphenidate was chosen on 28% of occasions. In the group as a whole, methylphenidate had no effect on ratings of drug liking, but did increase ratings indicative of "positive" mood, CNS stimulation and anxiety. Within-subject variability in methylphenidate choice was related to variability in subjective response to the drug across choice trials. Methylphenidate choice was also associated with between-subject differences in prior opioid use and several personality dimensions. When compared with the results of a prior study of the same design with d-amphetamine, these results suggest that methylphenidate produces a somewhat different profile of subjective effects, and may be a less efficacious reinforcer than d-amphetamine.

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