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Effects of lorazepam and oxazepam on perceptual and procedural memory functions

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-16, 13:30 authored by Martin, JE, Allison MatthewsAllison Matthews, Martin, F, Kenneth KirkbyKenneth Kirkby, Alexander, JRM, Daniels, BA
Rationale: Lorazepam has been found to consistently impair performance on both episodic and perceptual priming tasks, whereas other benzodiazepines have shown perceptual priming to be preserved. However, it has recently been postulated that benzodiazepines may exert time-dependent effects on implicit memory processes after research findings indicated some benzodi-azepines, other than lorazepam, impair performance on priming tasks when tested at the time of peak plasma concentration level after benzodiazepine administration. Objectives: To compare time-dependent effects of lora-zepam and oxazepam on implicit memory tasks, specifically perceptual priming and procedural learning. Methods: Thirty-three healthy female undergraduates were randomised to one of three time groups (pre-peak, peak, post-peak) and administered placebo, 2.5 mg lora-zepam, and 30 mg oxazepam, in counterbalanced order, at 1-week intervals. Assessments included word-stem completion (perceptual priming) and rotary pursuit (procedural learning) tasks. Results: At all time intervals, lorazepam but not oxazepam significantly impaired perceptual priming but procedural learning was preserved under both drugs. Conclusions: These findings are consistent with previous research showing a differential effect of lorazepam in impairing perceptual memory but the notion that benzodiazepines exert time-dependent effects on implicit memory processes was not supported.


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School of Psychological Sciences



Place of publication

Heidelberg, Germany

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Behaviour and health

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