Effects of cocaine alone and in combination with bromocriptine in human cocaine abusers

Kenzie L. Preston, J. T. Sullivan, E. C. Strain, G. E. Bigelow

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78 Scopus citations


This study was conducted to determine whether the acute administration of bromocriptine, a dopamine agonist, modulates the acute pharmacologic effects of i.v. cocaine in humans. Eight current users of i.v. cocaine who were not seeking treatment for their cocaine abuse completed the study while they were inpatients on a research unit. Twelve drug conditions were tested in all subjects in randomized order under double-blind, double-dummy conditions and included cocaine (0, 12.5, 25 and 50 mg, i.v.) in combination with bromocriptine (0, 1.2 and 2.5 mg given orally 2 hr before the cocaine injection). Physiologic and subject- and observer-rated responses were measured. Cocaine alone significantly increased pupil diameter, heart rate and blood pressure, and ratings of drug effect, good effects, liking and rush. Bromocriptine alone significantly increased pupil diameter and heart rate, decreased blood pressure and had only minor effects on subjective measures. There were significant cocaine/bromocriptine interactions on diastolic and mean arterial blood pressure, with combinations producing significantly smaller increases compared to cocaine alone, and on heart rate, with combinations producing significantly larger increases compared to cocaine alone. The physiologic and subjective effects of cocaine were not modified by pretreatment with bromocriptine in any other way that might indicate either a therapeutic benefit or a safety concern. However, bromocriptine alone produced undesirable effects (fainting) that should be considered before administration to outpatient cocaine abusers. Any possible therapeutic benefits of acute administration of bromocriptine in cocaine abuse are not likely to be due directly to modulation of the acute effects of cocaine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-291
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology


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