Acute and chronic cocaine administration has been reported to change endocrine and neurochemical functions in animals and human drug abusers. This study examined the effects of acute cocaine administration on anterior pituitary and gonadal hormones in male human volunteers without a history of drug abuse. Using a double-blind, randomized study design, luteinizing hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), prolactin and testosterone levels were measured in 12 healthy men before and after intranasal administration of 2 mg/kg cocaine or placebo. Each subject was studied twice, serving as his own control. Compared to placebo, both luteinizing hormone, and, to a lesser degree, follicle-stimulating hormone levels increased significantly after cocaine, reaching a peak value 60 min after the administration of the study drug. This pattern is consistent with a possible cocaine induced rise in gonadotropin-releasing hormone and subsequent rise in luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone due to stimulation of gonadotroph cells in the pituitary gland. Neither cocaine nor placebo induced a change in testosterone levels. Prolactin levels showed a decrease from base line after both placebo and cocaine administration, with a significantly more pronounced decrease after cocaine. This likely reflects the combination of the physiologic diurnal variation in prolactin secretion and an added inhibitory effect on prolactin due to cocaine. These findings show that the acute administration of cocaine significantly alters anterior pituitary hormonal release patterns.