Pentagastrin has panic-inducing properties in obsessive compulsive disorder

Psychopharmacology (Berl). 1996 Aug;126(4):339-44. doi: 10.1007/BF02247385.


The effects of the CCKB-receptor agonist pentagastrin, a synthetic analogue of the cholecystokinin tetrapeptide (CCK-4), were studied in seven patients suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and seven healthy controls. All subjects were challenged with an IV dose of 0.6 micrograms/kg pentagastrin or placebo under double blind placebo controlled conditions, on two separate occasions, with a minimum interval of 1 week. Six (86%) out of seven OCD patients experienced a panic-like reaction after pentagastrin administration, against only two (29%) in the control group. These differences failed to reach statistical significance, probably due to the small sample size. No increases were observed in obsessions or compulsive behaviors as assessed with the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Challenge Scale, neither in the pentagastrin, nor in the placebo condition. These findings suggest that pentagastrin has panic-inducing properties in OCD patients, without affecting the core symptoms. The panic-inducing properties of pentagastrin are not specific for panic disorder patients, which might be indicative of a common neurobiological dysfunction in panic disorder and OCD at the level of CCK-B receptors.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect / drug effects
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood
  • Male
  • Methoxyhydroxyphenylglycol / blood
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Panic Disorder / chemically induced*
  • Pentagastrin / adverse effects*
  • Pentagastrin / therapeutic use
  • Prolactin / blood


  • Methoxyhydroxyphenylglycol
  • Prolactin
  • Pentagastrin
  • Hydrocortisone