Lactate provocation of panic attacks. I. Clinical and behavioral findings

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1984 Aug;41(8):764-70. doi: 10.1001/archpsyc.1984.01790190038004.


To assess the pharmacologic and phenomenologic comparability of lactate-induced and naturally occurring panic attacks, patients meeting DSM-III criteria for panic disorder or agoraphobia with panic attacks were infused with 0.5M racemic sodium lactate before and after successful drug treatment. Lactate-induced and naturally occurring panic attacks were symptomatically similar. Following treatment, the patients' response to lactate did not differ from that of normal controls, whereas the pretreatment panic rate was much higher. These data suggest that lactate acts, by as yet unidentified mechanisms, to trigger the same panic attacks as occur spontaneously in vulnerable persons.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Agoraphobia / chemically induced
  • Agoraphobia / diagnosis
  • Agoraphobia / drug therapy
  • Anxiety Disorders / chemically induced*
  • Anxiety Disorders / diagnosis
  • Anxiety Disorders / drug therapy
  • Clonidine / therapeutic use
  • Desipramine / therapeutic use
  • Fear* / drug effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Imipramine / therapeutic use
  • Lactates* / pharmacology
  • Lactic Acid
  • Male
  • Panic* / drug effects


  • Lactates
  • Lactic Acid
  • Clonidine
  • Imipramine
  • Desipramine