Effects of lorazepam on film-induced
differentiated emotions in healthy volunteers

Garcia C, Philippot P, Lacarelle B,
Valli M, Rime B, Bruguerolle B, Blin O.
Clinical Pharmacology & CPCET,
Timone Hospital, Marseille, France.
Fundam Clin Pharmacol 1997;11(5):466-75


We studied the effects of lorazepam, a benzodiazepine, on differentiated emotions in healthy volunteers. In order to induce differentiated emotions, film excerpts were selected on the basis of the type of emotion they induced (fear, anger and for affective tone neutral film). For 6 days (D1 to D6), ten healthy volunteers received lorazepam (1 mg bid) or placebo in a randomized cross-over double-blind trial. During each treatment period, emotional induction occurred on D4, D5 and D6. One film excerpt (fear, anger or neutral) was presented each morning after relaxation. Evaluation was performed before and after each emotional induction and included questionnaires (Differential Emotions Scale and physical activation visual analog scales), and neurophysiological parameters (systolic and diastolic blood pressure, heart rate and norepinephrine levels). Globally, the film excerpts induced the predicted emotions. An analysis of variance was undertaken and revealed a significant effect of lorazepam versus placebo. On the Differential Emotions Scale and during fear induction, lorazepam induced a significantly higher increase in fear, anxiety and disgust emotions than placebo, whereas no effect was observed after anger induction. Lorazepam also induced a significantly higher increase in diastolic and systolic blood pressure with no change in heart rate, and physical activation items ("tears" and "faster breathing") without no significant change in norepinephrine. In conclusion, our results are consistent with an overall increase in emotional reactivity with lorazepam (1 mg bid) as compared to placebo. The pertinence of film-induced differentiated emotions has to be confirmed for clinical pharmacological use.
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