Buspirone is differentiated from diazepam in humans using a three-response drug discrimination procedure

Joseph M. Frey, Miriam Z. Mintzer, Craig R. Rush, Roland R. Griffiths

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The discriminative stimulus effects of buspirone and diazepam were examined in 12 healthy volunteers using a three-response drug discrimination procedure and a within-subject design. During an initial sampling phase, the training drug conditions (placebo, 15 mg/70 kg buspirone, and 10 mg/70 kg diazepam) were identified to subjects by letter codes before oral drug administration. During a subsequent training phase, subjects earned money for correct drug identifications made two hours after drug administration. Ten out of 12 subjects acquired the three-response discrimination. When lower doses of buspirone (3.75 and 7.5 mg/70 kg) and diazepam (2.5 and 5.0 mg/70 kg) were tested in a subsequent generalization testing phase, both buspirone and diazepam produced dose-related increases in appropriate drug identifications, without significant cross-generalization. Analyses of standardized and unstructured self report questionnaires revealed that buspirone and diazepam produced different profiles of effects, and that buspirone was associated with a number of 'negative' subject-rated effects including tension, nausea, and dizziness. These results demonstrate a distinct profile of discriminative stimulus and subjective effects for buspirone relative to diazepam which is consistent with its distinct pharmacological profile, and provide evidence for the sensitivity of the three-response drug discrimination procedure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-26
Number of pages11
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1998


  • Benzodiazepine
  • Buspirone
  • Diazepam
  • Discrimination Human

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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