Behavioral pharmacological similarities between methylphenidate and cocaine in cocaine abusers

Exp Clin Psychopharmacol. 2001 Feb;9(1):59-73. doi: 10.1037/1064-1297.9.1.59.


Six human participants with recent histories of cocaine use were trained to discriminate 200 mg oral cocaine hydrochloride. A range of doses of oral cocaine (50-300 mg), methylphenidate (15-90 mg), triazolam (0.125-0.75 mg), and placebo were then tested to determine whether they shared discriminative-stimulus and participant-rated effects with 200 mg cocaine. Cocaine and methylphenidate dose-dependently increased cocaine-appropriate responding, produced prototypical stimulant-like participant-rated drug effects (e.g., increased participant ratings of Drug Liking), and increased heart rate and blood pressure. Triazolam produced low levels of cocaine-appropriate responding and impaired performance. Thus, consistent with previous studies, humans can reliably discriminate oral cocaine. Consistent with in vivo behavioral neuropharmacological data, the discriminative-stimulus, participant-rated, and physiological effects of oral cocaine and methylphenidate were similar.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Behavior / drug effects*
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / pharmacology*
  • Cocaine / pharmacology*
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / psychology*
  • Discrimination, Psychological / drug effects
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Heart Rate / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Methylphenidate / pharmacology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychomotor Performance / drug effects
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Triazolam / pharmacology


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives
  • Triazolam
  • Methylphenidate
  • Cocaine