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Drug Alcohol Depend. 2002 Jul 1;67(2):157-67.

Acute effects of oral cocaine on inhibitory control of behavior in humans.

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Department of Psychology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506-0044, USA.


Studies of humans show that individuals with histories of cocaine abuse display reduced inhibitory control over behavioral impulses. The present study tested the effects of oral cocaine on the ability to inhibit behavior in humans. Eight adult volunteers (seven men and one woman) with a history of cocaine abuse participated as in-patient volunteers. Response inhibition and response execution were measured by a stop-signal paradigm using a choice reaction time task that engaged subjects in responding to go-signals when stop-signals occasionally informed them to inhibit the response. Subjects' performance on the task was tested just before and 1 h after a randomized, double-blind administration of 0 mg (placebo), 50, 100, and 150 mg of oral cocaine HCl. Cocaine reduced subjects' ability to inhibit responses to stop-signals. By contrast, no effect of cocaine was observed on the ability to execute responses in terms of their speed and accuracy. Subjective and physiological effects of cocaine were also observed. Together, the findings indicate that acute administration of cocaine can impair the ability to inhibit behavioral responses at doses that do not affect the ability to respond. These findings are important because they identify a specific disinhibiting effect of cocaine that could help explain the documented association between long-term cocaine use and poor impulse control.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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