Lack of pharmacologic interaction between paroxetine and alprazolam at steady state in healthy volunteers

J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2004 Jun;24(3):268-76. doi: 10.1097/


This investigation aimed to provide evidence on the lack of pharmacokinetic interaction of paroxetine (20 mg/d) and alprazolam (1 mg/d) in combined therapy. In addition, the central effects of both drugs when administered alone and in combination were assessed to rule out any relevant synergistic depressant central effect. Twenty-five healthy young adult volunteers participated in a double-blind, double-dummy, placebo-controlled, repeated dose (15 days), 4-period crossover study. Each subject received each of 4 treatment sequences (ie, paroxetine-alprazolam placebo, alprazolam-paroxetine placebo, paroxetine-alprazolam, and paroxetine placebo-alprazolam placebo) in randomized order. The ratios for area under the curve within a dosing interval and maximum plasma concentration of the paroxetine plus alprazolam sequence to single agent paroxetine were 1.07 (90% confidence interval = 0.99 to 1.16) and 1.05 (90% confidence interval = 0.97 to 1.13), respectively, with no statistically significant differences between the 2 treatments. Similarly, for alprazolam, ratios for the combined to the single treatment sequence were 0.99 (90% confidence interval = 0.93 to 1.05) and 1.00 (90% confidence interval = 0.94 to 1.07) for area under the curve within a dosing interval and maximum plasma concentration, respectively, showing no evidence for interaction. Comparative pharmacodynamics on the combination was assessed using 6 Psychomotor Performance Tests and 5 Visual Analogue Scales focused on mood variables. Alprazolam and paroxetine plus alprazolam induced similar and significant performance impairment and sedation after both single and repeated dose administration, being less evident on day 15. After dosing, paroxetine plus alprazolam showed a lower recovery pattern than alprazolam alone, especially on day 15. No treatment sequence showed cumulative effects after repeated dose administration. Psychomotor Performance Tests and Visual Analogue Scales data suggested lack of pharmacodynamic interactions. Accordingly, study results showed no evidence for pharmacologic interactions between paroxetine and alprazolam at steady state. The most commonly reported adverse event was drowsiness, with a higher incidence under both single and combined alprazolam treatments.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alprazolam / administration & dosage
  • Alprazolam / blood*
  • Alprazolam / pharmacokinetics
  • Alprazolam / pharmacology*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Area Under Curve
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Interactions / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Paroxetine / administration & dosage
  • Paroxetine / blood*
  • Paroxetine / pharmacokinetics
  • Paroxetine / pharmacology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / drug effects
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology


  • Paroxetine
  • Alprazolam