Anxiogenic properties of yohimbine - II. Influence of experimental set and setting

Margot Albus, Theodore P. Zahn, Alan Breier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Scopus citations


To study the pharmacological induction of stress along with psychological stress and their possible interaction, 20 mg yohimbine and placebo orally were administered to 8 panic patients on placebo treatment, 7 panic patients on alprazolam treatment and 12 controls in a double-blind crossover design. Two structured situations which can be considered as 'neutral' stressors were included: a mental arithmetic task and a continuous performance task. Mental arithmetic induced robust increases in ratings of panicky, anxiety, nervousness, heart rate and electrodermal activity, while the continuous performance task induced increases exclusively in skin conductance reaction. Patients responded to these tasks less than controls with regard to subjective ratings and electrodermal activity. Yohimbine did not potentiate the response to the tasks in the patients. In controls, heart rate during the mental arithmetic task, but not during rest, was increased after yohimbine. In contrast to other yohimbine challenge studies no panic attacks were observed. It is hypothesized that the experimental design together with an instructional set that reduces expectancy factors and the inclusion of structured and timelimited tasks in a challenge paradigm is able to reduce the anxiogenic effects of yohimbine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)345-351
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jul 1 1992
Externally publishedYes


  • Electrodermal activity
  • Heart rate
  • Panic disorder
  • Stress exposure
  • Yohimbine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Anxiogenic properties of yohimbine - II. Influence of experimental set and setting'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this