With-subject comparison of the subjective and psychomotor effects of a gaseous anesthetic and two volatile anesthetics in healthy volunteers

Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care, The University of Chicago, 5841 S. Maryland Avenue, MC 4028, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.
Drug and Alcohol Dependence (Impact Factor: 3.42). 02/2006; 81(1):89-95. DOI: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2005.06.002
Source: PubMed


Inhalant abuse is a serious public health problem throughout the world. The present study compared the states of intoxication produced by three inhaled anesthetics that represent two of the three major classes of abused inhalants, as classified by [Balster, R.L., 1998. Neural basis of inhalant abuse. Drug Alcohol Depend 51, 207-214.]. Isoflurane and sevoflurane represent the class of volatile substances, and nitrous oxide (N2O) comprises a class of its own. Fourteen healthy volunteers inhaled the vehicle (100% O2) and two concentrations each of isoflurane (0.1 and 0.2%), sevoflurane (0.2 and 0.4%), and N2O (15 and 30%) for 40 min each, across seven separate sessions. Drug concentrations were chosen to produce similar ratings of drug effect strength and similar impairment on a psychomotor test, the digit-symbol substitution test (DSST). Ratings of drug effect strength and performance on the DSST were similar across drugs; however, the volatile anesthetics produced greater sedation and greater impairment on three other psychomotor tests than N2O, whereas N2O produced a greater magnitude of putatively pleasant and psychedelic-like subjective effects. These results are consistent with the drugs' putative receptor mechanisms of action and confirm Balster's classification of the volatile anesthetics into a class distinct from N2O.

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    • "Across the nine studies, N 2 O and 100% oxygen (placebo) were administered either within the same session or in separate sessions. The agents could be administered within the same session because the residual effects of N 2 O, once it is no longer being administered, are extremely short (Beckman et al., 2005). In the studies in which the agents were inhaled in the same session (Zacny et al., 1996b; Cho et al., 1997; Zacny et al., 1997), a period of 60 minutes in which the mask was removed separated the two inhalation periods. "
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    ABSTRACT: Although numerous studies have assessed subjective effects of nitrous oxide, few studies have analyzed for sex differences. Since sex differences have been reported in subjective effects of several drugs such as opioids, nicotine and alcohol, we sought to determine if sex modulates the subjective effects of the inhalant, nitrous oxide, in healthy volunteers. Thirty-eight females and seventy-two males from nine studies that were conducted in our laboratory were included in this retrospective analysis. All experimental studies utilized randomized, placebo-controlled, repeated measures designs in which subjects inhaled 30% nitrous oxide in oxygen and 100% oxygen (placebo). Dependent measures in this analysis were subjective effects measured at baseline and 15 min into the inhalation period. Nitrous oxide produced a number of subjective effects, including those that could be considered abuse liability-related ("elated," "having pleasant thoughts," drug liking), but sex did not modulate these effects. Females and males showed similar subjective responses to 30% nitrous oxide. Future prospective studies might assess other concentrations, other measures (choice, analgesic response), and other inhaled general anesthetics to more comprehensively characterize the role of sex in response to inhalants.
    Preview · Article · Dec 2010 · Drug and alcohol dependence
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    • "The highly stigmatized nature of inhalant use bolsters this assumption (Oetting, Edwards, & Beauvais, 1988). Yet, subjective accounts of inhalant use experiences suggest that inhalation of volatile substances produces an intensely pleasurable form of intoxication (Beckman et al., 2006; MacLean, 2008; Shah, Vankar , & Upadhaya, 1998) that may be accompanied by hallucinations , altered states of consciousness, and delusions of grandeur or reference (Evans & Raistrick, 1987; Preble & Laury, 1967; Tolan & Lingl, 1964). The hallucinatory and cognitive effects of inhalant drugs may vary qualitatively by the physiochemical properties of the specific agents of misuse ; for example, toluene use is associated significantly more commonly with tactile hallucinations and a perceived " speeding up " of the passage of time than butane use, which is associated comparatively more frequently with a perceived slowing of time (Evans & Raistrick, 1987). "
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    ABSTRACT: Although volatile substance inhalation is prevalent in many contexts and presents a serious threat to public health, this pernicious form of substance misuse remains poorly understood. The question of why people seek and misuse inhalants may be addressed by examining phenomenological accounts of inhalant intoxication, yet few investigations of inhalant intoxication experiences are reported in the literature. This investigation employed a structured interview to assess inhalant intoxication experiences of 267 low-, moderate-, and high-frequency inhalant users. Low-frequency inhalant users reported predominately hedonic experiences during inhalant intoxication, whereas high-frequency users reported a mixture of hedonic and aversive experiences. Aversive experiences such as depressed mood, suicidal ideation, and chest pain were commonly reported by high-frequency users but were relatively rare among low-frequency users. High-frequency users also experienced significantly more euphoria, talkativeness, and grandiosity during inhalant intoxication than low-frequency users. Hedonic and aversive experiences during episodes of inhalant intoxication are relatively common among high-frequency adolescent inhalant users.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2010 · Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology
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    • "Few studies have described the epidemiology of NO use generally or in juvenile justice or adolescent clinical populations (Sakai et al. 2004; McGarvey, Canterbury & Waite 1996), and to our knowledge, none have attempted to discriminate the sociodemographic and psychosocial profiles of adolescent NO and VS users. This lack of differentiation in the inhalant literature is unfortunate, given the potential pharmacological distinctiveness of NO and VS inhalants (Duarte et al. 2008; Beckman, Zacny & Walker 2006) and the claims for NO's low abuse potential (Gillman 1995). "
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    ABSTRACT: Few studies have examined the prevalence of nitrous oxide (NO) inhalation or co-occurrence of NO and volatile solvent (VS) use in adolescents. Study aims were to (1) describe the independent and conjoint prevalence of NO and VS use in incarcerated youth, (2) compare adolescent users of both NO and VS inhalants (NO+VS) to users of NO-only, VS-only, and nonusers of NO and VS (NO/VNS nonusers) with regard to demographic, psychological, and behavioral characteristics, and (3) conduct logistic regression analyses identifying correlates of NO use. Residents (N = 723) of Missouri Division of Youth Services were assessed with standardized psychosocial measures. Participants averaged 15.5 (SD = 1.2) years of age, were ethnically diverse and predominantly male. Lifetime prevalence of NO use was 15.8%. NO+VS users evidenced greater impairments compared to NO+VS nonusers. VS-only users evidenced impairments that were similar in kind but at lower prevalences compared to those displayed by NO+VS users, whereas NO-only youth had profiles that were similar to those of NO/VS nonusers. Psychiatric disorders, polydrug use, and temperamental fearlessness were correlates of NO use. NO+VS users were at high risk for behavioral and emotional problems. Screening and interventions for NO and VS inhalant use should be implemented in juvenile justice facilities.
    Preview · Article · Dec 2009 · Journal of psychoactive drugs
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