Behavioural pharmacology

Prior methylphenidate self-administration alters the subsequent reinforcing effects of methamphetamine in rats.

PMID 25325290


Methylphenidate (MPD) is clinically effective in treating the symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder; however, its relatively widespread availability has raised public health concerns on nonmedical use of MPD among certain adult populations. Most preclinical studies investigate whether presumed therapeutically relevant doses of MPD alter sensitivity to the reinforcing effects of other drugs, but it remains unclear whether doses of MPD likely exceeding therapeutic relevance impact the subsequent reinforcing effects of drugs. To begin to address this question, the effect of prior MPD self-administration (0.56 mg/kg/infusion) on the subsequent reinforcing effects of methamphetamine (METH, 0.032 or 0.1 mg/kg/infusion) was investigated in male Sprague-Dawley rats. For comparison, it was also determined whether prior experimenter-administered MPD, injected daily at a presumed therapeutically relevant dose (2 mg/kg), altered the subsequent reinforcing effects of METH. Results indicated that, under the current conditions, only a history of MPD self-administration increased sensitivity to the subsequent reinforcing effects of METH. Furthermore, MPD did not impact food-maintained responding, suggesting that the effect of MPD might be specific to drug reinforcers. These data suggest that short-term, nonmedical use of MPD might alter the positive reinforcing effects of METH in a manner relevant to vulnerability to drug use in humans.