Comparison of the effects of methamphetamine, bupropion, and methylphenidate on the self-administration of methamphetamine by rhesus monkeys

Exp Clin Psychopharmacol. 2011 Feb;19(1):1-10. doi: 10.1037/a0022432.


The effectiveness of methadone as a treatment for opioid abuse and nicotine preparations as treatments for tobacco smoking has led to an interest in developing a similar strategy for treating psychostimulant abuse. The current study investigated the effects of three such potential therapies on intravenous methamphetamine self-administration (1 - 30 μg/kg/injection) in rhesus monkeys. When given as a presession intramuscular injection, a high dose of methamphetamine (1.0 mg/kg) decreased intravenous methamphetamine self-administration but did not affect responding for a food reinforcer during the same sessions. However, the dose of intramuscular methamphetamine required to reduce intravenous methamphetamine self-administration exceeded the cumulative amount taken during a typical self-administration session, and pretreatment with a low dose of methamphetamine (0.3 mg/kg) actually increased self-administration in some monkeys at the lower self-administration dose. Like pretreatment with methamphetamine, pretreatment with bupropion (3.2 mg/kg) decreased methamphetamine self-administration but did not affect responding for food. Pretreatment with methylphenidate (0.56 mg/kg) did not significantly alter methamphetamine self-administration. These results suggest that some agonist-like agents can decrease methamphetamine self-administration. Although the most robust effects occurred with a high dose of methamphetamine, safety and abuse liability considerations suggest that bupropion should also be considered for further evaluation as a methamphetamine addiction treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bupropion / adverse effects
  • Bupropion / pharmacology*
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / administration & dosage
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / adverse effects
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / pharmacology*
  • Conditioning, Operant / drug effects
  • Dopamine Uptake Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • Dopamine Uptake Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Feeding Behavior / drug effects
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Male
  • Methamphetamine / administration & dosage*
  • Methamphetamine / adverse effects
  • Methamphetamine / pharmacology*
  • Methylphenidate / adverse effects
  • Methylphenidate / pharmacology*
  • Motivation
  • Self Administration
  • Substance-Related Disorders / drug therapy*


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Dopamine Uptake Inhibitors
  • Bupropion
  • Methylphenidate
  • Methamphetamine