A dose-ranging study of the behavioral and cardiovascular effects of CCK-tetrapeptide in panic disorder

Biol Psychiatry. 1992 Nov 15;32(10):903-12. doi: 10.1016/0006-3223(92)90179-4.


Recent animal studies have shown that pretreatment with centrally active cholecystokinin (CCK) antagonists blocks the anxiogenic effects of CCK-tetrapeptide (CCK-4). In order to determine whether pretreatment with these antagonists can block the anxiogenic effects of CCK-4 in patients with panic disorder, a suitable challenge dose of CCK-4 must be selected. Thus, we conducted a dose range study in which patients with panic disorder (n = 29) were challenged with CCK-4 (10, 15, 20, or 25 micrograms) or placebo on two separate occasions, in a balanced incomplete block design. Patients received in random order 10 micrograms (n = 12), 15 micrograms (n = 11), 20 micrograms (n = 12), or 25 micrograms (n = 12) of CCK-4 or placebo (n = 11). CCK-4 induced anxiety and panic responses in a dose-dependent fashion. The incidence of panic attacks following the CCK-4 challenge was 17% (10 micrograms), 64% (15 micrograms), 75% (20 micrograms), and 75% (25 micrograms). None of the patients panicked with placebo. Moreover, a strong linear relationship between CCK-4 and increases in heart rate and diastolic blood pressure was found. The findings of this study suggest that a dose of 20 micrograms of CCK-4 (ED75) might be suitable for efficacy studies of CCKB antagonists and other potential antipanic drugs in patients with panic disorder.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Arousal / drug effects*
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Panic / drug effects*
  • Panic Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Panic Disorder / psychology
  • Tetragastrin*


  • Tetragastrin