It has been hypothesized that drugs that serve as substrates for dopamine (DA) and norepinephrine (NE) transporters may be more suitable medications for cocaine dependence than drugs that inhibit DA and NE uptake by binding to transporters. Previous studies have shown that the DA/NE releaser d-amphetamine can decrease cocaine self-administration in preclinical and clinical studies. The present study examined the effects of methylphenidate (MPD), a DA uptake inhibitor, for its ability to decrease cocaine self-administration under conditions designed to reflect clinically relevant regimens of cocaine exposure and pharmacotherapy. Each morning, rhesus monkeys pressed a lever to receive food pellets under a fixed-ratio 50 schedule of reinforcement; cocaine was self-administered under a progressive-ratio schedule of reinforcement in the evening. After cocaine (0.003-0.56 mg/kg per injection, i.v.) dose-response curves were determined, self-administration sessions were suspended and MPD (0.003-0.0056 mg/kg per hour, i.v.; or 1.0-9.0 mg/kg p.o., b.i.d.) was administered for several weeks. A cocaine self-administration session was conducted every 7 days. When a MPD dose was reached that either persistently decreased cocaine self-administration or produced disruptive effects, the cocaine dose-effect curve was re-determined. In most cases, MPD treatment either produced behaviorally disruptive effects or increased cocaine self-administration; it took several weeks for these effects to dissipate. These data are consistent with the largely negative results of clinical trials with MPD. In contrast to the positive effects with the monoamine releaser d-amphetamine under identical conditions, these results do not support use of monoamine uptake inhibitors like MPD as a medication for cocaine dependence.