Cocaine dependence continues to be a worldwide public health concern. Although the majority of individuals reporting cocaine use do so via the intranasal route, relatively few laboratory experiments have examined the reinforcing effects of cocaine administered intranasally. The purpose of this experiment was to measure the reinforcing effects of intranasal cocaine using a progressive ratio schedule in which eight cocaine-using subjects chose between doses of cocaine (4 [placebo], 15, 30 and 45. mg) and an alternative reinforcer ($0.25). During each session, subjects first sampled the dose of cocaine available that day and then made six choices between that dose and money, which were available on concurrent progressive ratio schedules of responding. Break points for active cocaine doses were higher than those for placebo but no statistically significant active versus placebo dose effects were observed on subject-rated or physiological measures. These data demonstrate that intranasal cocaine functions as a reinforcer under a progressive ratio schedule in humans. Future research should test higher cocaine doses and larger values of the alternative reinforcer. These procedures may be useful for examining the influence of putative pharmacological and behavioral interventions on intranasal cocaine self-administration.
- Progressive ratio