Vagal tone decreases following intravenous diazepam

Bryon Adinoff, Ivan Mefford, Robyn Waxman, Markku Linnoila

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


To investigate the relationship between anxiety and parasympathetic nervous system activity, cardiac vagal tone was assessed in six healthy volunteers after the intravenous administration of the anxiolytic diazepam. Vagal tone was determined by quantifying the amplitude of respiratory sinus arrhythmia. We observed a significant dose-dependent attenuation in vagal tone, accompanied by an increase in heart rate. There was a nonstatistically significant decrease in plasma norepinephrine concentrations and subjective anxiety ratings at higher doses of diazepam. We discuss a possible role of the parasympathetic nervous system in the anxiolytic effects of the benzodiazepines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-97
Number of pages9
JournalPsychiatry research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1992


  • Benzodiazepine
  • autonomic nervous system
  • heart rate
  • norepinephrine
  • sinus arrhythmia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


Dive into the research topics of 'Vagal tone decreases following intravenous diazepam'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this