Diazepam Effects on the P3 Event-Related Potential

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Cerebral event-related potentials arise from synchronous neural activity associated with cognitive processing. The P3 is a late positive component that is related to task complexity and is directly proportional to stimulus evaluation time. P3 latency and amplitude were examined after oral administration of diazepam, a commonly prescribed medication with known cognitive side effects. Latency of the P3 was significantly increased after a single dose of both 5 and 10 mg of diazepam but not after placebo. P3 amplitude decreased slightly, but not significantly after 10 mg of diazepam. Changes in P3 occurred in the absence of significant changes in the preceding evoked waves (N1, P2). These findings should be considered when the P3 is obtained for clinical or research purposes from medicated patients.

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