The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis plays a role in cocaine dependence and major depressive disorder. The authors examined the correlation between baseline depressive symptomatology and pituitary-adrenal axis activation induced by acute cocaine challenge. Twelve patients with cocaine dependence were administered an iv bolus of cocaine (0.6 mg/kg) and their plasma was assayed for levels of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and cortisol. Depressive symptomatology was assessed with total Hamilton rating scale for depression (HRSD) scores and its vegetative and cognitive superfactors. Cocaine produced a mean increase from baseline of 261% for ACTH and 73% for cortisol plasma levels. Changes in ACTH (r=0.69) and cortisol (r=0.59) were positively and significantly correlated with total HRSD scores and its vegetative, but not cognitive, factor symptom cluster. These results suggest that the HPA axis may be involved in affective disturbances associated with the use of cocaine. Implications of these data for the pathophysiology of cocaine dependence are discussed. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd.
- Clinical pharmacology
- Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Pharmacology (medical)