Intravenous nicotine and caffeine: Subjective and physiological effects in cocaine abusers

Bridgette E. Garrett, Roland R. Griffiths

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


The subjective and physiological effects of intravenously administered caffeine and nicotine were compared in nine subjects with histories of using caffeine, tobacco, and cocaine. Subjects abstained from tobacco cigarette smoking for at least 8 h before each session. Dietary caffeine was eliminated throughout the study; however, to maintain consistency with the nicotine intake, subjects were administered caffeine (150 mg/70 kg b.i.d.) in capsules, with the last dose administered 15 to 18 h before each session. Under double-blind conditions, subjects received placebo, caffeine (100, 200, and 400 mg/70 kg), and nicotine (0.75, 1.5, and 3.0 mg/70 kg) in mixed order. Physiological and subjective data were collected before and repeatedly after drug or placebo administration. Compared with the highest dose of caffeine, the highest dose of nicotine produced greater subjective ratings on a number of scales. At doses that produced comparable ratings of drug effect (1.5 mg/70 kg of nicotine and 400 mg/70 kg of caffeine), both drugs produced similar increases in ratings of good effect, liking, high, stimulated, and bad effect. Nicotine showed a somewhat faster time to peak subjective effects than caffeine (2 versus 4 min). Subjective ratings that differentiated caffeine and nicotine were ratings of rush, blurry vision, and stimulant identification (elevated by nicotine) and ratings of unusual smell and/or taste (elevated by caffeine). Both caffeine and nicotine decreased skin temperature and increased diastolic blood pressure; however, caffeine decreased whereas nicotine increased heart rate. The study documents both striking similarities and some notable differences between caffeine and nicotine, which are among the most widely used mood-altering drugs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)486-494
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology


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