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Brain neurotransmission in panic disorder.

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Department of Pharmacology, University of Göteborg, Sweden.


For two decades it has been hypothesized that schizophrenia and depression are related to alterations in the activity of specific neurotransmitters in brain; to a great extent, these theories are based on the assumed mode of action of antipsychotic and antidepressant drugs. With the available knowledge of how panic anxiety can be effectively treated (and elicited) with drugs, it is now reasonable to formulate hypotheses also regarding the contribution of central neurotransmitters to the generation of panic. As will be discussed in this brief review, three substances seem to be of particular importance in this context: serotonin, noradrenaline and GABA. In view of this concept, the putative mode of action of the atypical benzodiazepine derivative alprazolam, which in contrast to other benzodiazepines has been attributed effectiveness in the treatment of panic, will also be discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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