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Psychopharmacology (Berl). 1996 Jul;126(2):132-9.

Influence of training dose on nicotine discrimination in humans.

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Western Psychiatric Institute & Clinic, University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine, PA 15213, USA.


Non-human research indicates that drug discrimination results may depend largely on the specific training conditions, including initial training dose. It has recently been shown that humans can discriminate among different doses of nicotine delivered by nasal spray. In this study, we examined the influence of training dose on subsequent behavioral discrimination of a range of nicotine doses. Male (n = 17) and female smokers (n = 16) were randomly assigned to "low" (10 micrograms/kg) versus "high" (30 micrograms/kg) nicotine training dose groups and trained reliably to discriminate this dose from placebo (0) on day 1 (> or = 80% correct identification). All but six subjects (four in low, two in high) learned this discrimination and continued on to day 2, in which both groups received 0, 5, 10, 20, and 30 micrograms/kg in ascending order (30 min between dosings) and were tested for generalization with their training dose using quantal and quantitative behavioral discrimination tasks. Subjective responses via traditional self-report measures were also assessed. Nicotine-appropriate responding on day 2 was significantly greater in low- versus high-dose groups, especially at 5 micrograms/kg. However, this difference due to training dose was seen more in women than in men. Discrimination behavior was associated with subjective effects of head rush in males, and with head rush and decline in urge to smoke in females. These results show that discriminative stimulus effects of nicotine are not fixed properties of the drug, but can be influenced by training conditions, and that effects associated with this discrimination may differ between men and women.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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