Comparison of intranasal methamphetamine and d-amphetamine self-administration by humans

Addiction. 2012 Apr;107(4):783-91. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2011.03706.x.


Aims: There are no studies directly comparing self-administration of methamphetamine and d-amphetamine by humans. This study compared intranasal methamphetamine- and d-amphetamine self-administration and characterized the mood, performance and physiological effects produced by the drugs.

Design: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over study.

Setting: An out-patient research unit at the New York State Psychiatric Institute.

Participants: Male recreational methamphetamine users (n = 13).

Measurements: Five 2-day blocks of sessions were conducted. On the first day of each block, participants 'sampled' a single methamphetamine or d-amphetamine dose (0, 12, 50 mg/70 kg) and a monetary reinforcer ($5 or $20). Amphetamine plasma levels, cardiovascular, mood, and psychomotor performance effects were assessed before drug administration and repeatedly thereafter. On the second day of each block, participants chose between the sampled reinforcers (drug or money).

Findings: There were no significant differences between the drugs on the majority of measures. Under the $5 condition, both amphetamines increased self-administration dose-dependently, with 41% drug choices overall. Under the $20 condition, only 17% drug options were selected. Both drugs increased cardiovascular activity and 'positive' mood, although methamphetamine produced more prominent effects on some measures (e.g. heart rate and ratings of 'high').

Conclusions: Methamphetamine and d-amphetamines appear to produce a similar dose-related profile of effects in humans, which supports their equivalence for abuse potential.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Intranasal
  • Adult
  • Ambulatory Care
  • Amphetamine-Related Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / chemically induced
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / administration & dosage*
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / adverse effects
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / pharmacokinetics
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Dextroamphetamine / administration & dosage*
  • Dextroamphetamine / adverse effects
  • Dextroamphetamine / pharmacokinetics
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methamphetamine / administration & dosage*
  • Methamphetamine / adverse effects
  • Methamphetamine / pharmacokinetics
  • New York
  • Psychomotor Disorders / chemically induced
  • Self Administration


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Methamphetamine
  • Dextroamphetamine