An anxiogenic substance is one that causes anxiety. This effect is in contrast to anxiolytic agents, which inhibits anxiety. Together these categories of psychoactive compounds may be referred to as anxiotropic compounds.
Anxiogenic effects can be measured by, for example, the hole-board test in rats and mice. A number of agents are used to provoke anxiety (anxiogens) or panic (panicogens) in experimental models. Some of the most common substances are: carbon dioxide (as carbogen), sodium lactate, amphetamines, caffeine, L-DOPA, methylphenidate, 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). Sodium lactate given intravenously has been proven to cause panic attacks in people with a panic disorder but not in patients with no such history.
Antibiotic 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, as well as toxicity to the central nervous system. This effect is potentiated by the combined use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Anxiolytic substances have the opposite effect: they reduce anxiety. The most common class of anxiolytic drugs are the benzodiazepines. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are commonly prescribed antidepressants with anxiolytic properties, although they are generally not as effective.
- 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. doi:10.1016/S0014-2999(98)00223-4. PMID 9683010.
- Eric Hollander; Daphne Simeon (2003). Concise Guide to Anxiety Disorders. American Psychiatric Pub. p. 1. ISBN 978-1-58562-080-7. Retrieved 13 May 2012.