, Volume 95, Issue 3, pp 369–373 | Cite as

Differential effects of oxazepam and lorazepam on aggressive responding

  • Alyson Bond
  • Malcolm Lader
Original Investigations


Two doses of two very similar benzodiazepines (oxazepam 15 and 30 mg: lorazepam 1 and 2 mg) and placebo were compared 4 h post-administration on a competitive reaction time task designed to measure behavioural aggression. Forty-five subjects were assigned randomly to five independent drug groups. Subjective ratings of mood, anxiety and aggression were completed pre- and post-drug and post-task. Oxazepam and lorazepam had very similar subjective effects, but the higher dose of lorazepam increased aggressive responding on the task more than any other treatment. This may be related to the different ceiling efficacies of the two benzodiazepines.

Key words

Lorazepam Oxazepam Aggression Ceiling efficacy 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bond A, Lader M (1974) The use of analogue scales in rating subjective feelings. Br J Med Psychol 47:211–218Google Scholar
  2. Bond A, Lader M (1979) Benzodiazepines and aggression. In: Sandler M (ed) Psychopharmacology of aggression. Raven Press, New York, pp 173–182Google Scholar
  3. Bond A, Lader M (1986) The relationship between induced behavioural aggression and mood after the consumption of two doses of alcohol. Br J Addict 81:65–75Google Scholar
  4. Boyle D, Tobin JM (1961) Pharmaceutical management of behaviour disorders: chlorxiazepoxide in covert and overt expressions of aggression. J Med Soc NJ 58:427–429Google Scholar
  5. Curran HV, Schiwy W, Lader M (1987) Differential amnesic properties of benzodiazepines: a dose-response comparison of two drugs with similar elimination half-lives. Psychopharmacology 92:358–364Google Scholar
  6. File SE, Bond AJ (1979) Impaired performance and sedation after a single dose of lorazepam. Psychopharmacology 66:309–313Google Scholar
  7. Gardos G, Dismascio A, Salzman C, Shader RI (1968) Differential actions of chlordiazepoxide and oxazepam in hostility. Arch Gen Psychiatry 18:758–760Google Scholar
  8. Gilman AG, Mayer SE, Melmon KL (1980) Pharmacodynamics. In: Goodman LS, Gilman A (eds) The pharmacological basis of therapeutics, 6th edn. Macmillan, New York, pp 28–39Google Scholar
  9. Greenblatt DJ, Shader RI, Divoll M, Harmatz JS (1981) Benzodiazepines: a summary of pharmacokinetic properties. Br J Clin Pharmacol 11:11S–16SGoogle Scholar
  10. Kochansky GE, Salzman C, Shader RI, Harmatz JS, Ogeltree AM (1975) The differential effects of chlrodiazepoxide and oxazepam on hostility in a small group setting. Am J Psychiatry 132:861–863Google Scholar
  11. Kochansky GE, Salzman C, Shader RI, Harmatz JS, Ogeltree AM (1977) Effects of chlordiazepoxide and oxazepam administration on verbal hostility. Arch Gen Psychiatry 34:1457–1459Google Scholar
  12. Lader M (1987) Clinical pharmacology of benzodiazepines. Annu Rev Med 38:19–28Google Scholar
  13. McDonald RL (1967) The effects of personality type on drug response. Arch Gen Psychiatry 17:680–686Google Scholar
  14. Rodgers RJ, Waters AJ (1985) Bensodiazepines and their antagonists: a pharmacoethological analysis with particular reference to effects on “aggression”. Neurosci Biobehav Rev 9:21–35CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Rosenbaum JF, Woods SW, Groves JE, Klerman GL (1984) Emergence of hostility during alprazolam treatment. Am J Psychiatry 141:792–793Google Scholar
  16. Salzman C, Kochansky GE, Shader RI, Porrino LJ, Harmatz JS, Swett CP (1974) Chlordiazepoxide-induced hostility in a small group setting. Arch Gen Psychiatry 31:401–405Google Scholar
  17. Salzman C, Kochansky GE, Shader RI, Harmatz JS, Ogeltree AM (1975) Is oxazepam associated with hostility? Dis Nerv Syst 36:30–32Google Scholar
  18. Spielberger CD, Gorsuch RL, Lushene RE (1969) The State-trait Anxiety Inventory. Consulting Psychologists Press, Palo Alto, CaliforniaGoogle Scholar
  19. Taylor SP (1967) Aggressive behavior and physiological arousal as a function of provocation and the tendency to inhibit aggression. J Pers 35:297–310Google Scholar
  20. Tyrer P (1974) The benzodiazepine bonanza. Lancet II:709–710Google Scholar
  21. Tyrer P, Rutherford D, Huggett T (1981) Benzodiazepine withdrawal symptons and propranolol. Lancet I:520–522Google Scholar
  22. Wilkinson CJ (1985) Effects of diazepam (Valium) and trait anxiety on human physical aggression and emotional state. J Behav Med 8:101–114PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alyson Bond
    • 1
  • Malcolm Lader
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry, Institute of PsychiatryUniversity of LondonDenmark HillUK

Personalised recommendations