Behavioral response to diazepam in a residential laboratory

Thomas H. Kelly, Richard W. Foltin, Lisa King, Marian W. Fischman

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18 Scopus citations


Two groups of three healthy adult male volunteers without histories of sedative or other drug abuse participated in 15-day residential studies. Each day consisted of a private work period (10 am to 4:30 pm), during which subjects participated in traditional laboratory performance tasks, and a social period (5 to 11:30 pm), during which subjects had access to recreational activities available under social or private conditions. Tobacco cigarettes and food were available throughout each day (9 am to 12 pm). Diazepam (5 or 10 mg/70 kg) or placebo was administered orally twice daily in alternating three-consecutive-day intervals. Dosing order varied between groups. Diazepam had no effect on the total amount of time subjects spent in social conditions; however, the low dose increased verbal interaction, while the high dose decreased verbal interaction. Both doses disrupted performance on a second-order repeated-acquisition task but produced no effects on the other performance measures. Five of six subjects increased caloric intake following at least one dose, with the largest increases observed in subjects with the lowest baseline intake. Increases in subject reports of dose "Potency" and "Sedated" were also observed following the high dose. Diazepam doses routinely used in clinical settings influeced a variety of behaviors that are observed in the natural ecology, but not performance on accepted laboratory tasks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)808-822
Number of pages15
JournalBiological Psychiatry
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 15 1992

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by DA-03476 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The assistance of Cleeve Emurian, Jerry Locklee, Michelle Woodland, Andrea Rose, and Patti Pippen, and the critical comments on the manuscript by Dr. Ken $ilverman are gratefully acknowledged.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry


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