Methadone and nicotine self-administration in humans: A behavioral economic analysis

Ralph Spiga, Margaret P. Martinetti, Richard A. Meisch, Katherine Cowan, Steven Hursh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Rationale: Prior research has revealed inconsistencies in the behavioral relations between nicotine and opiates among methadone-maintained patients. Objectives: The current study examined whether the drug reinforcers cigarette puffs and methadone were economic complements or substitutes. Methods: Five methadone-maintained, nicotine-dependent participants were trained to self-administer methadone, cigarette puffs, or concurrently available methadone and puffs. Following training, the fixed ratio (FR) value ("price") was increased across sessions (FR 32, 64, 128, 256, and 512), first for methadone and then for puffs. Subsequently, methadone and puffs were concurrently available, and the price of each drug was increased independently, while the price of the alternative (puffs or methadone) remained constant at FR 32. Results: Demand for methadone and cigarette puffs decreased as a function of increases in methadone and cigarette puff prices, respectively. When methadone and puffs were concurrently available, an increase in methadone's price decreased puff consumption, and demand for methadone was less elastic than when puffs were not concurrently available. An increase in puff price decreased puff and methadone demand, but the elasticity of puff demand was unaffected. The concurrent presence of methadone had no effect on the elasticity of demand for cigarette puffs. Conclusions: Methadone and cigarette puffs appear to be asymmetric economic complements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-231
Number of pages9
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Mar 2005


  • Behavioral economics
  • Complements
  • Humans
  • Methadone and nicotine interactions
  • Methadone-maintenance
  • Polydrug use
  • Substitutes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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