Sex differences in self-reported and physiological response to oral cocaine and placebo in humans

Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 2000 Nov;26(4):643-57. doi: 10.1081/ada-100101900.


Self-report and physiological data from 27 male and 8 female cocaine-abusing volunteers exposed to cocaine (80 mg/70 kg p.o.) and placebo were examined for sex differences in their responses. Females reported significantly greater baseline ratings on the Pentobarbital-Chlorpromazine-Alcohol Group (PCAG) (sedation) and Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) (dysphoria) subscales of the Addiction Research Center Inventory-Short Form (ARCI) relative to males. In addition, females reported significantly greater ratings on the Visual Analogs Scales (VAS) Bad Drug Effects and Anxious/Nervous scales relative to males, regardless of drug. Cocaine produced greater increase in systolic blood pressure in males following cocaine, whereas females showed greater increases following placebo. These results suggest that a placebo control is necessary to determine sex differences in response to an active drug.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Antipsychotic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antipsychotic Agents / adverse effects
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects*
  • Chlorpromazine / administration & dosage
  • Chlorpromazine / adverse effects
  • Cocaine / administration & dosage
  • Cocaine / adverse effects*
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / administration & dosage
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / adverse effects
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pentobarbital / administration & dosage
  • Pentobarbital / adverse effects
  • Self-Assessment*
  • Sex Factors


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives
  • Pentobarbital
  • Cocaine
  • Chlorpromazine