Reinforcing and discriminative-stimulus effects of ephedrine isomers in rhesus monkeys

Karen G. Anderson, Gail Winger, James Woods, William L. Woolverton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Ephedrine is a sympathomimetic drug that is currently found in many over-the-counter preparations. This compound exists as four isomers which, in addition to a racemic mixture, were evaluated for their positive reinforcing effects and for their similarity to (+)-amphetamine as a discriminative stimulus. Rhesus monkeys (N = 3) with intravenous cocaine (0.1 mg/kg/inj) or saline as a consequence for lever pressing were shown to self-administer all of the ephedrine compounds (range tested: 0.03-3.0 mg/kg/inj), with the exception of (-)-pseudoephedrine, when each drug/dose was substituted for cocaine or saline during test sessions. However, the (-)-pseudoephedrine isomer was evaluated within a limited dose range due to solubility limitations. Systematically increasing the number of responses required for an injection indicated that these isomers were not as effective as reinforcers as was cocaine. Rhesus monkeys (N = 3) trained to discriminate intragastric 1.0 mg/kg (+)-amphetamine from saline were given substitution tests with the ephedrine isomers and the racemic mixture. When given intragastrically, at least one dose of all the ephedrine isomers substituted for the (+)-amphetamine discriminative stimulus in at least one of the subjects tested. However, (+)-amphetamine-like effects were not systematically related to dose. When the discriminative-stimulus effects of (-)-ephedrine were also compared with those of (+)-amphetamine across three different routes of administration, full, dose-related, (+)-amphetamine-like responding was observed with both the intramuscular and intravenous routes. Taken together, these results suggest that the ephedrines have psychomotor stimulant-like abuse potential, lower than that of cocaine. Parenteral administration may enhance psychomotor-stimulant-like effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-53
Number of pages9
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
Volume65
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2001
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Drug discrimination
  • Ephedrine
  • Pseudoephedrine
  • Rhesus monkey
  • Self-administration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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