Lactate infusions and panic attacks: Do patients and controls respond differently?

Anke Ehlers, Jürgen Margraf, Walton T. Roth, C. Barr Taylor, Richard J. Maddock, Javaid Sheikh, Maya L. Kopell, Kristin L. McClenahan, Denis Gossard, Geoffrey H. Blowers, W. Stewart Agras, Bert S. Kopell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

68 Citations (Scopus)


Ten patients with panic disorder or agoraphobia with panic attacks and 10 normal controls received infusions of normal saline (placebo) and sodium lactate in a single-blind design. The time course of changes in the dependent variables was closely monitored, and expectancy biases and demand characteristics were minimized. Lactate increased self-reported anxiety and heart rate equally in patients and controls. The only variables showing statistically different responses between the groups were systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Overall, in both groups, the effects of lactate were quite similar to states of natural panic or anxiety for both self-report measures and heart rate. Patients had a tendency to endorse somatic symptoms indiscriminately. Our data do not support response to lactate as a biological marker of proneness to panic attacks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-308
Number of pages14
JournalPsychiatry Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1986



  • Panic disorder
  • agoraphobia
  • anxiety
  • blood pressure
  • heart rate
  • sodium lactate infusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

Cite this

Ehlers, A., Margraf, J., Roth, W. T., Taylor, C. B., Maddock, R. J., Sheikh, J., Kopell, M. L., McClenahan, K. L., Gossard, D., Blowers, G. H., Agras, W. S., & Kopell, B. S. (1986). Lactate infusions and panic attacks: Do patients and controls respond differently? Psychiatry Research, 17(4), 295-308.