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June 1976

The Effect of Behavioral Stimulant Doses of Amphetamine on Blood Pressure

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pharmacology, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1976;33(6):691-695. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1976.01770060029005

• Blood pressure responses to amphetamine have been studied both in humans and in rats. Blood pressure was monitored In patients who had experienced an adverse behavioral reaction to the drug. All of the patients had self-administered amphetamine, and later sought medical attention for their adverse reaction. In a series of 14 patients, there was no evidence that amphetamine had evoked a sustained increase in blood pressure.

In rats, experiments were conducted in two steps: (1) a determination of the doses of amphetamine that cause behavioral stimulation, and (2) an evaluation of the blood pressure effects of the same doses of amphetamine. In control animals, behavioral stimulant doses of amphetamine exerted only transient effects on blood pressure. In pithed animals, ie, animals devoid of all central mechanisms, amphetamine exerted a sustained effect on blood pressure. It is concluded that the potential ability of amphetamine to evoke sustained cardiovascular responses is damped by the central nervous system of intact animals.