Dose-dependent effects of intravenously administered lorazepam on psychophysiological activity during rest and mental stress were studied in order to examine differential responses to doses which may induce anxiolysis or sedation. In a double-blind randomized cross-over study, nine male volunteers participated in a placebo and a lorazepam session, during which the subjects repeatedly performed a 10-min version of the Stroop Color Word Test (CWT), with 10 min of rest between the CWTs. Lorazepam was administered before each rest period in increasing doses of 0.0, 0.06, 0.13, 0.25 and 0.5 mg (total cumulative dose: 0.94 mg). Heart rate showed a dose-dependent decrease during rest with an ED50 of 0.13 mg lorazepam, while lorazepam had no effect on the cardiovascular and plasma catecholamine response magnitudes to the CWT. Subjective fatigue and reaction time increased significantly after 0.94 mg lorazepam, while at the same dose vigor decreased; state anxiety after the CWT was not influenced by lorazepam. These data show differential effects of lorazepam on cardiovascular, biochemical and psychological function. While heart rate was suppressed at low doses during rest and reaction time and subjective fatigue increased at doses which induced sedation, state anxiety and physiological response patterns to the CWT were not influenced by lorazepam.

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Department of Psychiatry

Tulen, J., Moleman, P., Boomsma, F., van Steenis, H., & van den Heuij, V. (1991). Dose-dependent effects of intravenous lorazepam on cardiovascular activity, plasma catecholamines and psychological function during rest and mental stress. Psychopharmacology, 105(1), 77–83. doi:10.1007/BF02316867