Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Exp Clin Psychopharmacol. 2007 Oct;15(5):418-26.

The role of estradiol and progesterone in modulating the subjective effects of stimulants in humans.

Author information

New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY 10032, USA.


Although stimulant abuse is a growing problem among women, few studies have focused on factors that may be implicated in potential sex differences. Numerous preclinical studies have indicated that female rodents are more sensitive than male rodents to the behavioral effects of stimulants and that the hormone estradiol is involved in these sex differences. In humans, the subjective response to stimulants is greater in the follicular phase (characterized by moderate estradiol levels and minimal progesterone levels) than in the luteal phase (characterized by elevated estradiol levels and elevated progesterone levels). Differences between men and women emerge only when men are compared with women in the luteal phase; the subjective response to stimulants is similar in men and women in the follicular phase. In contrast to rodents, there is minimal evidence that estradiol enhances the subjective response to stimulants in humans. Rather, the hormone progesterone has been shown to attenuate the subjective response to stimulants, particularly in women. Recent preclinical data confirm that progesterone reduces the behavioral response to stimulants. In summary, there is converging evidence from studies in humans that (a) men and women do differ in their subjective response to stimulants; (b) these sex differences are evident when women are in the luteal phase, when progesterone levels are elevated; and (c) progesterone administration attenuates the subjective response to stimulants. Therefore, the menstrual cycle should be addressed in mixed-gender studies. Moreover, the modulatory effects of progesterone on reducing the positive effects of cocaine may have some clinical utility in treating stimulant abusers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for American Psychological Association
    Loading ...
    Support Center