Co-administration of amphetamine with alcohol results in decreased alcohol withdrawal severity in adolescent rats

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Simultaneous use of stimulants and alcohol is a growing problem, particularly among older adolescents already prone to binge alcohol consumption. Adolescent rats consume high levels of alcohol when administered in a liquid diet and develop a strong alcohol withdrawal syndrome. We exploited this system to administer amphetamine in combination with alcohol and to test the effect of co-administration of amphetamine on alcohol withdrawal-induced hypoactivity and overall withdrawal severity. The presence of dietary amphetamine (≤40 mg/l) had no effect on consumption of control or alcohol-containing diets. Measured in an activity chamber, alcohol withdrawal hypoactivity was reduced significantly by co-administration of amphetamine with alcohol. Overall withdrawal severity was also reduced significantly when rats consumed amphetamine with alcohol. The results suggest that amphetamine co-use may mask physical signs of alcohol dependency and add to the importance of educational strategies pointing out the potential problems associated with co-use of stimulants and alcohol.

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