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An anxiogenic substance is one that causes anxiety. Anxiogenic effects can be measured by, for example, the hole-board test in rats and mice.[1] A number of agents are used to provoke anxiety (anxiogens) or panic (panicogens) in experimental models. Some of the most common substances are: sodium lactate, carbon dioxide (as carbogen), L-DOPA, caffeine, modafinil, GABA antagonists such as DMCM, FG-7142 and ZK-93426, serotonergic agents such as mCPP and LY-293,284, adrenergic agents such as yohimbine, antipsychotics/dopamine antagonists such as ecopipam and reserpine, and cholecystokinin (CCK) (especially the tetrapeptide and octapeptide fragments CCK-4 and CCK-8). Studies have shown that 10 mL/kg of 0.5 molar sodium lactate infused intravenously over a 20-minute period will provoke a panic attack in most patients with panic disorder but not healthy control subjects.[2]

Antibiotics drugs such as fluoroquinolones can cause from short-term to long-term anxiety and panic disorders as a side effect. This is due to a possible antagonism of the GABAA receptor and toxicity of the central nervous system. This effect is potentiated with the combined use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

The GABAA receptor negative allosteric modulator flumazenil can cause panic attacks in patients with panic disorder.

Anxiolytic substances have the opposite effect: they reduce anxiety. The most common class of anxiolytic drugs are the benzodiazepines.

See alsoEdit


  1. Takeda H, Tsuji M, Matsumiya T (May 1998). Changes in head-dipping behavior in the hole-board test reflect the anxiogenic and/or anxiolytic state in mice. European Journal of Pharmacology 350 (1): 21–9.
  2. (2003) Concise Guide to Anxiety Disorders, American Psychiatric Pub. URL accessed 13 May 2012.
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