Benzodiazepine receptor (BZR) agonists, used extensively for their anxiolytic effects, have been shown to increase food intake in many mammalian species. Little information, however, is available on the effects of BZR agonists on feeding behaviors of humans. Food intake was evaluated in a 60-minute free-feeding standardized test after the acute administration of the BZR agonist chlordiazepoxide (CDP, Librium; 5 mg or 20 mg) or placebo. Subjects were 12 individuals with the Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS), a disorder characterized by extreme hyperphagia and morbid obesity, and 11 controls with obesity. PWS subjects showed the characteristic hyperphagia associated with the appetite disorder, consuming more than six times as many sandwiches as controls with obesity. Results revealed no significant effect of either dose of CDP on the food intake of either group. Serum assays revealed that dose-dependent, clinically effective levels of CDP and active metabolites were achieved. These results suggest that acute administration of the BZR agonist CDP, at the therapeutic levels used, may not increase food intake in populations with obesity. However, the chronic effects of CDP on appetite in human populations still need to be explored.