Effects of intravenous cocaine on plasma cortisol and prolactin in human cocaine abusers

Michael H. Baumann, Teri M. Gendron, Karen M. Becketts, Jack E. Henningfield, David A. Gorelick, Richard B. Rothman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


The aim of the present work was to examine the cortisol and prolactin responses to acute cocaine administration in human cocaine users. Each subject served as his own control during intravenous saline placebo and cocaine (40 mg) infusion sessions. Cocaine significantly elevated plasma cortisol but did not affect prolactin. The rise in cortisol coincided with an increase in heart rate and blood pressure after cocaine. In agreement with studies in animals, our data suggest that cocaine activates the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis in humans. However, based on the well-known importance of dopamine as a prolactin-inhibiting factor, the failure of cocaine to suppress prolactin in the present study raises questions concerning the role of dopamine in the mechanism of acute cocaine action in humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)751-755
Number of pages5
JournalBiological Psychiatry
Issue number11
StatePublished - Dec 1 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • Cocaine
  • cortisol
  • human
  • prolactin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry


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