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The reactivity of 40 panic disorder patients on mental arithmetic, cold pressor, and 5% CO2 inhalation stressors was tested before and after 8 weeks of treatment with imipramine, alprazolam, or placebo. Mean levels of subjective and physiological stress measures were compared during a baseline before any stressors were given, and at anticipation, stressor, and recovery periods for each stressor. After treatment, imipramine patients differed from the other two treatment groups on the prestressor baseline in showing higher systolic blood pressure (mean difference about 10 mmHg), higher diastolic blood pressure (10 mm Hg), higher heart rate (15 bpm), less respiratory sinus arrhythmia, shorter pulse transit time, and lower T-wave amplitude. Respiratory measures, electrodermal measures, body movement, and self-reported anxiety and excitement did not distinguish the groups. Reactivity to the stress tests was unaffected by the medications, but tonic differences present in the baseline persisted.


Journal article


Biol Psychiatry

Publication Date





35 - 51


Adult, Alprazolam, Anxiety, Arrhythmias, Cardiac, Blood Pressure, Carbon Dioxide, Cold Temperature, Exercise Test, Female, Galvanic Skin Response, Heart Rate, Humans, Imipramine, Lipids, Male, Mental Processes, Panic Disorder, Psychiatric Status Rating Scales, Respiratory Function Tests, Stress, Psychological