Effects of dexamphetamine with and without alcohol on simulated driving

R. Simons*, M. Martens, J. Ramaekers, A. Krul, I. Klopping-Ketelaars, G. Skopp

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


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. The study was aimed at assessing the effects of alcohol, dexamphetamine and the combination of both on simulated driving and cognitive performance. 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. Mean BAC levels during simulated driving were between 0.91aEuro degrees and 0.64aEuro degrees. 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. Single doses of 0.8 g/kg alcohol increased risk-taking 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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)391-399
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012

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