Behavioral and cerebrovascular effects of caffeine in patients with anxiety disorders.
Caffeine is believed to induce anxiety in normal people and anxiety disorder patients and panic attacks in panic disorder patients. The drug is also known to reduce cerebral blood flow (CBF). Findings suggesting an anxiety-related cerebral vasoconstrictive factor have been reported. We examined the relationship between changes in anxiety and CBF induced by intravenously injecting 250 mg of caffeine (comparable to 2 cups of coffee) in 8 patients with generalized anxiety disorder, 9 patients with panic disorder and 9 normal controls. CBF measurements were also obtained before and after an injection of normal saline in another group of 9 normal volunteers. The anxiety disorder patients did not show any evidence of increase in anxiety and panic after caffeine. Both patients and controls who received caffeine but not normal controls who received saline showed significant CBF decrease. The CBF changes were unrelated to changes in mood, autonomic activity and carbon dioxide levels.
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