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Effects of Progesterone and Alcohol on Impulsivity and Abuse Liability in Female Moderate Drinkers

Mahajan, Kaavya

The level of drinking in women is increasing steadily and past research has shown that alcohol increases impulsive behaviors in men, as well as women. Further, it has been suggested that elevated progesterone levels in the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle attenuate the positive subjective effects of stimulants and some behavioral measures of impulsivity. The purpose of this study was to determine if oral micronized progesterone alters the behavioral effects of alcohol, including measures of impulsivity and abuse liability, in “at risk” female drinkers (>7 drinks/week). 10 normally cycling women were tested in an outpatient setting for 2 blocks of testing sessions (total of 8 sessions) during the follicular phase over 2 consecutive menstrual cycles. Each testing block consisted of pretreatment with 300 mg of oral micronized progesterone or placebo, and administration of one of 3 doses of alcohol (0, 0.5, 0.75 g/kg), with the order of progesterone treatment counterbalanced across participants and alcohol dose order randomized within each block. Throughout each session, participants completed a range of tasks that assessed measures of impulsivity and risk-taking, abuse liability, cognitive performance, and mood. Alcohol produced a significant dose-dependent increase in Take Again and Drug Liking ratings and the peak crossover point in the Multiple Choice Procedure. However, there were no significant effects of alcohol dose, hormone pretreatment, or interaction effects across all impulsivity and risk-taking tasks. While these results are contrary to our original hypotheses, this was most likely related to inadequate power to detect effects. Regardless, they pave the way for extended research on the modulatory role of progesterone on impulsivity and abuse liability in female moderate drinkers.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Neuroscience and Behavior (Barnard College)
Thesis Advisors
Moore, Holly M.
B.A., Barnard College
Published Here
July 28, 2016
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