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Biol Psychiatry. 1998 Dec 1;44(11):1171-7.

Progressive behavioral response to repeated d-amphetamine challenge: further evidence for sensitization in humans.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, OH 45267-0559, USA.



Behavioral sensitization is the process whereby intermittent stimulant exposure produces a time-dependent, enduring, and progressive behavioral response. Although animal models of sensitization are well established, the phenomenon has been relatively little studied in humans. In a previous study, we reported enhanced responses following a second as compared to a first amphetamine dose in eye-blink rate and ratings of increased motor activity/energy, increased speech, and elevated mood in normal human volunteers. This current study extends those findings in a new sample of normal volunteers.


Eleven normal human volunteers were administered three single oral doses of d-amphetamine (0.25 mg/kg) at 48-hour intervals, alternating with matched placebo in a randomized, double-blind trial. Hourly behavioral ratings included eye-blink rate, symptoms (elevated mood, increased speech, increased motor activity/energy), and subjective drug effects.


Eye-blink rate and increased motor activity/energy ratings progressively increased following each challenge with the third amphetamine dose response significantly greater than all other conditions 4 hours postadministration. Similar, although less pronounced, responses were observed for elevated mood and subjective drug effect.


These results provide further evidence for sensitization of some amphetamine-induced behaviors in human subjects.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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