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Behav Pharmacol. 2013 Sep;24(5-6):482-5. doi: 10.1097/FBP.0b013e3283644d44.

The relative reinforcing strength of methamphetamine and D-amphetamine in monkeys self-administering cocaine.

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Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC 27157-1083, USA.


Epidemiological data indicate that rates of methamphetamine misuse surpass those of D-amphetamine, but self-administration research in animals and humans has not typically demonstrated differences in their reinforcing effects. The present study used a within-session, exponentially increasing progressive-ratio schedule and extended-access conditions to assess the relative reinforcing strength of D-amphetamine and methamphetamine in rhesus monkeys (n=5) trained to self-administer cocaine. A range of doses of methamphetamine (0.003-0.1 mg/kg/injection), D-amphetamine (0.003-0.1 mg/kg/injection), and cocaine (0.003-0.3 mg/kg/injection) was tested to capture the ascending and descending limbs of the dose-effect functions. Each drug functioned as a reinforcer, but the peak number of self-administered D-amphetamine injections was significantly lower compared with methamphetamine and cocaine; the peak number of self-administered injections of cocaine and methamphetamine did not differ. Although differences in availability and other social factors likely impact relative rates of abuse, the present data suggest that the greater reinforcing strength of methamphetamine contributes to its increased use compared with D-amphetamine.

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