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Exp Clin Psychopharmacol. 2003 Feb;11(1):56-72.

Lorazepam and scopolamine: A single-dose comparison of effects on human memory and attentional processes.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Behavioral Biology Research Center, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21224-6823, USA.


This placebo-controlled, double-blind, double-dummy, independent groups study directly compared effects of the benzodiazepine, lorazepam (2.0 mg/70 kg orally administered), and the anticholinergic scopolamine (0.6 mg/70 kg subcutaneously administered) on memory and attentional measures hypothesized to differentiate the drugs. At the studied doses, lorazepam and scopolamine produced similar decrements in psychomotor performance, free recall, and overall sensitivity in distinguishing between studied and nonstudied items on a recognition memory test. However, the drugs differed with respect to effects on working memory, response bias, metacognition, subjective awareness, and selective attention. In addition to providing information about the cognitive psychopharmacological profiles of drugs with distinct neurochemical and pharmacological mechanisms of action, this study also informs the understanding of memory and attentional processes.

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