Lactate infusions and panic attacks: do patients and controls respond differently?
Ehlers A., Margraf J., Roth WT., Taylor CB., Maddock RJ., Sheikh J., Kopell ML., McClenahan KL., Gossard D., Blowers GH.
Ten patients with panic disorder or agoraphobia with panic attacks and 10 normal controls received infusions of normal saline (placebo) and sodium lactate in a single-blind design. The time course of changes in the dependent variables was closely monitored, and expectancy biases and demand characteristics were minimized. Lactate increased self-reported anxiety and heart rate equally in patients and controls. The only variables showing statistically different responses between the groups were systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Overall, in both groups, the effects of lactate were quite similar to states of natural panic or anxiety for both self-report measures and heart rate. Patients had a tendency to endorse somatic symptoms indiscriminately. Our data do not support response to lactate as a biological marker of proneness to panic attacks.