Effects of chronic methylphenidate in adolescence on later methylphenidate self-administration in rhesus monkeys

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Many children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are treated with methylphenidate (MPH), despite limited information on later vulnerability to drug abuse. A previous study in adolescent monkeys treated with MPH for 1 year did not indicate differences in acquisition to cocaine reinforcement compared with controls. The present study extended this characterization to include MPH self-administration. Adolescent male rhesus monkeys treated previously with a sustained-release formulation of MPH (beginning at ∼30 months old) and control monkeys (n=8/group) were used. All had previous experience of self-administering cocaine under a fixed-ratio 30 schedule of reinforcement. Responding was maintained by food (1.0-g banana-flavored pellets) and MPH (saline, 0.001–0.1 mg/kg/injection) was substituted for food for at least five consecutive sessions. MPH functioned as a reinforcer in all monkeys; there were no differences between groups in MPH self-administration. These findings extend earlier research with cocaine reinforcement showing that MPH treatment in adolescent monkeys does not increase future reinforcing effects of stimulant drugs.

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