Transdermal nicotine maintenance attenuates the subjective and reinforcing effects of intravenous nicotine, but not cocaine or caffeine, in cigarette-smoking stimulant abusers

Bai Fang X. Sobel, Stacey C. Sigmon, Roland R. Griffiths

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The effects of transdermal nicotine maintenance on the subjective, reinforcing, and cardiovascular effects of intravenously administered cocaine, caffeine, and nicotine were examined using double-blind procedures in nine volunteers with histories of using tobacco, caffeine, and cocaine. Each participant was exposed to two chronic drug maintenance phases (21 mg/day nicotine transdermal patch and placebo transdermal patch). Within each drug phase, the participant received intravenous injections of placebo, cocaine (15 and 30 mg/70 kg), caffeine (200 and 400 mg/70 kg), and nicotine (1.0 and 2.0 mg/70 kg) in mixed order across days. Subjective and cardiovascular data were collected before and repeatedly after drug or placebo injection. Reinforcing effects were also assessed after each injection with a Drug vs Money Multiple-Choice Form. Intravenous cocaine produced robust dose-related increases in subjective and reinforcing effects; these effects were not altered by nicotine maintenance. Intravenous caffeine produced elevations on several subjective ratings; nicotine maintenance did not affect these ratings. Under the placebo maintenance condition, intravenous nicotine produced robust dose-related subjective effects, with maximal increases similar to the high dose of cocaine; nicotine maintenance significantly decreased the subjective and reinforcing effects of intravenous nicotine. The results of the present study demonstrate that chronic nicotine maintenance produces tolerance to the effects of intravenous nicotine, but does not affect the subjective or reinforcing effects of cocaine or caffeine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)991-1003
Number of pages13
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2004



  • Caffeine
  • Cocaine
  • Human
  • Nicotine
  • Reinforcement
  • Tolerance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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