Rationale: While the effects of d-amphetamine in increasing performance have been established, there is a paucity of information on the effects of methamphetamine on cognition in drug-naive subjects, and no published information on the effects of intravenous methamphetamine administration in dependent individuals. The dihydropyridine-class calcium channel antagonist, isradipine, has been posited as a putative treatment to prevent methamphetamine-associated hypertensive crisis and its sequelae. Yet, isradipine's effects on cognitive performance in methamphetamine-dependent individuals are not known.
Objective: Since individuals whose dependence on methamphetamine is attributable to the need to enhance performance may be loath to take a cognition-impairing medication, even for the treatment of life-threatening hypertensive crisis, it would be important to determine isradipine's effects on performance.
Methods: We therefore examined in a blinded, placebo-controlled, crossover design the cognitive effects of low and high doses of intravenous methamphetamine (15 mg and 30 mg, respectively) in both the presence and absence of isradipine.
Results: Intravenous d-methamphetamine produced dose-dependent increases in attention, concentration, and psychomotor performance. Isradipine, both with and without methamphetamine, had a modest effect to decrease attention.
Conclusion: Our results do not support the further testing of isradipine as a medication for improving the cognitive impairments that have been associated with chronic methamphetamine use.