Cognitive, psychomotor, and subjective effects of sodium oxybate and triazolam in healthy volunteers

Lawrence P. Carter, Roland R. Griffiths, Miriam Z. Mintzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Rationale: Illicit gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) has received attention as a "date rape drug" that produces robust amnesia; however, there is little experimental evidence in support of GHB's amnestic effects. Objectives: This study compared the cognitive effects of GHB (sodium oxybate) with those of triazolam in healthy volunteers. Materials and methods: Doses of sodium oxybate (1.125, 2.25, and 4.5 g/70 kg), triazolam (0.125, 0.25, and 0.5 mg/70 kg), and placebo were administered to 15 volunteers under repeated measures, counterbalanced, double-blind, double-dummy conditions. The time course and peak physiological, psychomotor, subjective, and cognitive effects were examined. Results: Sodium oxybate and triazolam produced similar increases in participant ratings of drug effects. Performance on psychomotor, working memory, and episodic memory tasks was impaired to a greater extent after triazolam than sodium oxybate. Conclusions: Together, these data suggest that sodium oxybate produces less psychomotor and cognitive impairment than triazolam at doses that produce equivalent participant-rated subjective effects in healthy volunteers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-154
Number of pages14
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 2009


  • Amnesia
  • GHB
  • Human
  • Memory
  • Sexual assault
  • Xyrem

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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