April 1992

Chronic Use of Alcohol and/or Benzodiazepines May Account for Evidence of Altered Benzodiazepine Receptor Sensitivity in Panic Disorder-Reply

Author Affiliations

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, RP-10 Washington University School of Medicine Seattle, WA 98195

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1992;49(4):331-332. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1992.01820040048008

—We are pleased to clarify the method of our ongoing studies examining benzodiazepine sensitivity in human anxiety states. Stewart et al are concerned that our findings of reduced benzodiazepine sensitivity in patients with panic disorder might be due to long-term use of alcohol or benzodiazepines. While longterm use clearly alters benzodiazepine receptor function in preclinical studies, we are fairly certain that this played no role whatsoever in our findings. Unfortunately, because we were so acutely aware of this issue and designed the study to eliminate these factors from the outset, we took a few things for granted and did not specify several key bits of information in the article.

Our patients underwent a Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-III-R as well as a clinical interview with a board-certified psychiatrist and had no current or prior history of alcohol or other drug abuse or dependence. In fact, a number of patients with

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