Relative abuse liability of lorazepam and diazepam: an evaluation in 'recreational' drug users

Frank R. Funderburk, Roland R. Griffiths, Daniel R. McLeod, E. George

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The subjective, psychomotor and cognitive effects of oral doses of lorazepam (0, 1.5, 3 and 6 mg) and diazepam (0, 10, 20 and 40 mg) were studied under double-blind conditions in 14 volunteers with histories of 'recreational' benzodiazepine use/abuse. For each subject, drug was administered over 4 test days in a 2 (drug) by 4 (dose level) mixed design. Drug was the between-groups factor while dose was the within-subjects factor. Test days were separated by at least 1 week. The results showed that subjective ratings of drug 'liking' and the psychomotor and cognitive effects of lorazepam were generally similar to those of diazepam over the range of doses studied. Lorazepam, however, tended to produce effects of longer duration than diazepam. Since previous studies have shown that diazepam has a relatively high abuse liability among the benzodiazepines, the present findings suggest that lorazepam shares this property with diazepam is subjects with a history of 'recreational' drug use/ abuse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-222
Number of pages8
JournalDrug and alcohol dependence
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1988


  • abuse liability
  • diazepam
  • drug abusers
  • humans
  • lorazepam
  • performance effects
  • subjective effects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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