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Effects of lorazepam on brain activity pattern during an anxiety symptom provocation challenge.

Author(s): Schunck T, Mathis A, Erb G, Namer IJ, Demazieres A, Luthringer R

Affiliation(s): FORENAP-FRP - MR Department, Rouffach, France. Therese.Schunck@forenap.com

Publication date & source: 2010-05, J Psychopharmacol., 24(5):701-8. Epub 2009 May 21.

Publication type: Randomized Controlled Trial; Validation Studies

Human models of anxiety are useful to develop new effective anxiolytics. The objective of this study was to use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to test the hypothesis that a single dose of lorazepam modifies brain activation during an anxiety challenge. Eighteen healthy male subjects underwent fMRI associated with a challenge based on the anticipation of aversive electrical stimulations after pretreatment, either with placebo or with 1.0 mg of oral lorazepam. Anxiety was rated before fMRI and after, referring to the threat condition periods, using State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) and Hamilton scales. The conditioning procedure induced anxiety, as indicated by clinical rating score changes. Lorazepam did not modify anxiety rating as compared to placebo. Lorazepam reduced cerebral activity in superior frontal gyrus, anterior insula/inferior frontal gyrus and cingulate gyrus. The current finding provides the first evidence of the modulatory effects of an established anxiolytic agent on brain activation related to anticipatory anxiety.

Page last updated: 2010-10-05

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