Cocaine tolerance: behavioral, cardiovascular, and neuroendocrine function in men

Neuropsychopharmacology. 1998 Apr;18(4):263-71. doi: 10.1016/S0893-133X(97)00146-2.


Cocaine tolerance was assessed by comparing the acute effects of cocaine in drug-abstinent men who reported occasional cocaine use (n = 6) and in men who met DSM-III-R diagnostic criteria for dependence on both cocaine and opiates (n = 6). Peak plasma cocaine levels were equivalent in the two groups, and pharmacokinetic analyses revealed no significant differences in cocaine levels at any time. Cocaine induced a significantly greater increase in ACTH in the occasional cocaine users than in the cocaine dependent men (p < .01). Heart rate and systolic and diastolic blood pressure increases after cocaine were also significantly greater in the occasional cocaine users than in the cocaine-dependent men (p < .05). These neuroendocrine and physiologic differences were paralleled by significantly greater subjective reports of "high" and "euphoria" by the occasional cocaine users (p < .03 to .0001). These data are consistent with the conclusion that tolerance to cocaine's physiologic, neuroendocrine, and subjective effects may occur as a function of chronic use.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone / blood
  • Adult
  • Behavior / drug effects*
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Cocaine / pharmacology*
  • Drug Tolerance
  • Hemodynamics / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Narcotics / pharmacology*
  • Neurosecretory Systems / drug effects*
  • Radioimmunoassay
  • Substance-Related Disorders / physiopathology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology


  • Narcotics
  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone
  • Cocaine