Pentagastrin-induced hemoconcentration in healthy volunteers and patients with panic disorder: effect of pretreatment with ethinyl estradiol

J Psychopharmacol. 2011 Jan;25(1):71-7. doi: 10.1177/0269881109106922. Epub 2009 Oct 13.


Panic disorder has been associated with both an increased risk of coronary events as well as an increased risk of stroke. Hemoconcentration, with both a decrease in plasma volume and an increase in plasma viscosity, is a possible contributor to the risk of acute ischemic events. Our objectives were to demonstrate the process of hemoconcentration in response to induced panic symptoms and to assess the effect of pretreatment with ethinyl estradiol on panic-induced hemoconcentration. Fifteen male patients with panic disorder and 10 male healthy volunteers were included in a double-blind cross-over placebo-controlled design consisting of two injections of pentagastrin following randomized pretreatment with placebo and ethinyl estradiol. Plasma levels of hematocrit and hemoglobin were assessed at baseline and post-injections, and used to calculate an indirect estimation of the change in plasma volume. Pentagastrin-induced panic symptoms were associated with a mean decrease in plasma volume of 4.8% in the placebo pretreatment condition. Pretreatment with ethinyl estradiol attenuated this effect. The acute hemoconcentration observed in relation to pentagastrin-induced panic symptoms may be relevant to the increased risk of stroke and acute coronary events found in patients with panic disorder.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Blood Viscosity / drug effects*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Estrogens / administration & dosage
  • Estrogens / pharmacology*
  • Ethinyl Estradiol / administration & dosage
  • Ethinyl Estradiol / pharmacology*
  • Hematocrit
  • Hemoglobins / analysis
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Panic / drug effects*
  • Panic Disorder / blood*
  • Pentagastrin / adverse effects*
  • Pentagastrin / pharmacology
  • Plasma Volume / drug effects*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales


  • Estrogens
  • Hemoglobins
  • Ethinyl Estradiol
  • Pentagastrin