Diazepam tolerance effects on vestibular function testing, part I: Saccadic parameters during electronystagmography

Patricia A. Blau, Nathan Schwade, Peter Roland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objectives: Benzodiazepines, particularly diazepam (DZ), are used in clinical practice to suppress acute vestibular symptoms. There have been limited studies looking at the effects of tolerance to DZ on parameters designed to measure the integrity of the vestibular system and its interaction with the oculomotor and balance systems. Methods: In a double-blinded, repeated-measures design, we randomized 30 young healthy men into one of two treatment groups (diazepam and placebo) and assessed with electro-oculography the effects of clinical divided doses of DZ on saccadic eye movements and sedation over 16 days. Results: Only sedation and saccadic latency were significant (p < .05) for treatment group, indicating selective effects on different central nervous system mechanisms. No significant effect for time was seen in any of the variables measured. Bonferroni i-test comparisons of the DZ group among 3 days were significant (p < .017) between baseline and day 3 for saccadic latency and accuracy and between day 3 and day 16 for self-ratings of sedation. Conclusions: Saccadic latency and accuracy and sedation ratings appear to be more sensitive to changes over time and less affected by subject variability than saccadic eye velocity. It remains questionable whether patients who have been on DZ for acute or extended periods of time need to discontinue the drug 48 hours before testing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)621-628
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Otology, Rhinology and Laryngology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2005


  • Diazepam
  • Saccadic eye movement
  • Sedation
  • Tolerance
  • Vestibular function test
  • Visual analog scale

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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