Subjective Responses to Intravenous Nicotine: Greater Sensitivity in Women Than in Men

Mehmet Sofuoglu, Marc E Mooney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Although approximately 45% of smokers in the United States are women, the influence of sex on nicotine dependence remains incompletely understood. Evidence from preclinical and clinical studies has indicated that there are significant sex differences in nicotine's effects. The authors' goal in this report was to determine whether men and women differ in their acute response to intravenous nicotine, which has not been examined in previous studies. Twelve male and 12 female smokers received saline followed by 0.5 mg/70 kg and 1.0 mg /70 kg nicotine intravenously. In response to nicotine, women, as compared with men, had enhanced ratings for drug strength, head rush, and bad effects. Women and men experienced similar suppression of smoking urges by nicotine as assessed by the Brief Questionnaire on Smoking Urges. Nicotine-induced heart rate and systolic and diastolic blood pressure increases were also similar in magnitude in men and women. The findings, consistent with those of several previous studies, support greater sensitivity of female smokers to some but not all of the subjective effects of nicotine. Further studies are warranted to examine the role of this differential nicotine sensitivity to development of nicotine dependence and response to nicotine replacement treatments in men and women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-69
Number of pages7
JournalExperimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2009


  • gender differences
  • intravenous nicotine
  • nicotine
  • sex differences


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