Physiological and subjective effects of acute intranasal methamphetamine during atomoxetine maintenance

Craig R. Rush, William W. Stoops, Joshua A. Lile, Paul E.A. Glaser, Lon R. Hays

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Rationale: Methamphetamine abuse and dependence are significant public-health concerns. Behavioral therapies are effective for reducing methamphetamine use. However, many patients enrolled in behavioral therapies are unable to achieve significant periods of abstinence suggesting other strategies like pharmacotherapy are needed. Objectives: This experiment determined the physiological and subjective effects of acutely administered intranasal methamphetamine during atomoxetine maintenance in seven non-treatment seeking stimulant-dependent participants. Atomoxetine was chosen for study because it blocks reuptake at the norepinephrine transporter and increases extracellular dopamine levels in the prefrontal cortex. In this way, atomoxetine might function as an agonist replacement therapy for stimulant-dependent patients. Methods: After at least 7 days of maintenance on atomoxetine (0 and 80 mg/day), participants were administered ascending doses of intranasal methamphetamine (0, 5, 10, 20 and 30 mg) across two experimental sessions. Intranasal methamphetamine doses were separated by 90 min. Results: Intranasal methamphetamine produced prototypical physiological and subjective effects (e.g., increased heart rate, blood pressure, temperature and subjective ratings of Good Effects). Atomoxetine maintenance augmented the heart rate-increasing effects of methamphetamine, but attenuated the pressor effects. The subjective effects of intranasal methamphetamine were similar during atomoxetine and placebo maintenance. Conclusions: These results suggest that methamphetamine can be safely administered to participants maintained on atomoxetine, but whether it might be an effective pharmacotherapy for methamphetamine dependence remains to be determined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-47
Number of pages8
JournalPharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 2011


  • Atomoxetine
  • Humans
  • Methamphetamine
  • Pharmacotherapy
  • Physiological effects
  • Subjective effects


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