Treatment effects of alprazolam and imipramine: Physiological versus subjective changes in patients with generalized anxiety disorder

Daniel R. McLeod, Rudolf Hoehn-Saric, Wesley D. Zimmerli, Errol B. De Souza, Lawrence K. Oliver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The correspondence between changes in physiological activity and somatic symptom reports was assessed in generalized anxiety disorder patients treated with alprazolam or imipramine. After 6 weeks, the two medications produced comparable reductions in self-reported somatic symptoms. However, patients taking alprazolam showed decreases in systolic blood pressure, epinephrine, and norepinephrine, and patients taking imipramine showed increases in heart rate, blood pressure, electromyographic activity, and norepinephrine. Thus, though the physiological changes associated with alprazolam treatment were consistent with changes in symptom reports, treatment with imipramine produced a desynchrony: patients reported significant decreases in cardiovascular symptoms and muscle tension in spite of the fact that heart rate, blood pressure, and electromyographic activity increased. Possible explanations for this counterintuitive phenomenon are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)849-861
Number of pages13
JournalBiological psychiatry
Volume28
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 15 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry

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