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Effects of dexamphetamine with and without alcohol on simulated driving

Author: Simons, M. · Martens, M.H. · Ramaekers, J. · Krul, A. · Klöpping-Ketelaars, I. · Skopp, G.
Source:Psychopharmacology, 3, 222, 391-399
Identifier: 462863
doi: doi:10.1007/s00213-011-2549-0
Keywords: Alcohol · Alertness · Dexamphetamine · Drivi ngperformance · Gap acceptance · SDLP · Mobility · Human · TPI - Training & Performance Innovations PCS - Perceptual and Cognitive Systems · BSS - Behavioural and Societal Sciences


Rationale In party circuits dexamphetamine is frequently used in combination with alcohol. It is hypothesized that co-administration of dexamphetamine to alcohol might reduce the sedative effects of alcohol, but may potentiate risk-taking behaviour. Objectives The study was aimed at assessing the effects of alcohol, dexamphetamine and the combination of both on simulated driving and cognitive performance. Method Eighteen subjects participated in a randomized, crossover, placebo-controlled study employing four conditions: 10 mg dexamphetamine, 0.8 g/kg alcohol, 10 mg dexamphetamine + 0.8 g/kg alcohol, and placebo. Fundamental driving skills and risk-taking behaviour were assessed in a driving simulator. Subjects also completed vigilance and divided attention tasks, and subjective ratings. Results Mean BAC levels during simulated driving were between 0.91% and 0.64%. Subjects using alcohol showed a significantly larger mean standard deviation of lateral position and shorter accepted gap time and distance. Use of alcohol or dexamphetamine + alcohol was associated with a higher frequency of red light running and collisions than the dexamphetamine or placebo conditions. Performance of vigilance and divided attention tasks was significantly impaired in the alcohol condition and, to a lesser degree, in the dexamphetamine + alcohol condition. Conclusion Single doses of 0.8 g/kg alcohol increased risktaking behaviours and impaired tracking, attention and reaction time during a 3-h period after drinking when BACs declined from 0.9 to 0.2 mg/ml. The stimulatory effects of co-administration of dexamphetamine 10 mg were not sufficient to overcome the impairing effects of alcohol on skills related to driving. © The Author(s) 2011.