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Am J Psychiatry. 1997 Feb;154(2):266-8.

Behavioral and neuroendocrine responses to sodium lactate infusion in subjects with posttraumatic stress disorder.

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  • 1Psychiatry Service, VA Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle, WA 98108, USA.



Sodium lactate infusion has induced flashbacks accompanied by panic attacks in male combat veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and concurrent panic disorder. This study addressed whether sodium lactate induces flashbacks or other intrusive PTSD symptoms in PTSD patients free of concurrent panic disorder.


Behavioral, cardiovascular, catecholamine, and cortisol responses to infusion of 0.5 M sodium lactate were compared among seven subjects with PTSD without panic disorder, seven subjects with panic disorder only, and seven healthy subjects.


Six of the seven PTSD subjects but no panic disorder or healthy subjects reported flashbacks or other intrusive PTSD symptoms during lactate infusion. Flashbacks were accompanied by substantial anxiety symptoms. Cortisol levels were low in the PTSD subjects.


Sodium lactate induces flashbacks in persons with PTSD without comorbid panic disorder. The relationship between anxiety responses accompanying a PTSD flashback and those in a panic attack remains unclear.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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