Exogenous progesterone attenuates the subjective effects of smoked cocaine in women, but not in men.

New York State Psychiatric Institute, Department of Psychiatry, College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA.
Neuropsychopharmacology (Impact Factor: 7.83). 04/2006; 31(3):659-74. DOI: 10.1038/sj.npp.1300887
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT In a previous study, we showed that the positive subjective effects of cocaine were higher during the follicular phase compared to the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. The purpose of the present study was to determine if exogenously administered progesterone during the follicular phase in females would attenuate the response to cocaine compared to the normal follicular phase, thus making the response to cocaine similar to the luteal phase. To address the role of sex differences, males were also administered exogenous progesterone during one inpatient stay. In all, 11 female and 10 male non-treatment-seeking cocaine smokers participated. Females had three inpatient stays: one during a normal follicular phase, one during a normal luteal phase, and one during a follicular phase when exogenous progesterone was administered. Males had two inpatient stays: one when exogenous progesterone was administered and the other when placebo was administered. During each inpatient admission, there were four smoked cocaine administration sessions: participants were administered six doses of cocaine (0, 6, 12, or 25 mg cocaine base) at 14 min intervals. Smoked cocaine increased heart rate, blood pressure and several subjective effects such as 'good drug effect' and 'drug quality' cluster scores. Administration of progesterone during the follicular phase in women attenuated the positive subjective effects of cocaine, whereas only minimal changes were observed in men. These results indicate that progesterone modulates the response to cocaine in women and suggests that fluctuations in endogenous progesterone levels account for some of the sex differences observed in humans.

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