Phenylpropanolamine: reinforcing and subjective effects in normal human volunteers. Academic Article uri icon


  • The reinforcing and subjective effects of phenylpropanolamine (PPA, 25 and 75 mg, PO) were compared with those of d-amphetamine (AMP, 5 mg) in a group of normal, healthy adults (eight males, nine females) with no history of drug abuse. A discrete-trial choice procedure was used in which subjects first sampled placebo and a dose of one of the drugs. Subjects were then allowed to choose between self-administration of drug or placebo on three separate occasions. The relative frequency with which active drug was chosen over placebo was used as the primary index of the drug's reinforcing efficacy. Subjective effects were measured with the Profile of Mood States, a short version of the Addiction Research Center Inventory and a series of visual analog scales. Ratings of drug liking, drug labelling, general activity level and strength of drug preference were also obtained. As expected, AMP was chosen significantly more often than expected by chance (69% of occasions). AMP also increased ratings of drug liking, preference strength, and activity level, and produced a profile of subjective effects consistent with its well-established stimulant and euphorigenic properties. The low dose of PPA was without effect on most measures. PPA 75 mg was chosen significantly less often than expected by chance (39% of occasions). This dose of PPA was most frequently labelled as a stimulant, and produced significant increases on ratings of Anxiety and "stimulated," and decreases on ratings of "sedated" and "hungry." Unlike AMP, PPA did not affect ratings of drug liking or mood scales reflecting euphoria. In sum, these results indicate that PPA does not possess AMP-like dependence potential.

publication date

  • January 1, 1988