It is known that benzodiazepines have a hypotensive effect, but the mechanism has not been well elucidated yet. To clarify whether this effect is due to central or peripheral mechanism, we administered 5 mg of diazepam or saline intravenously to healthy volunteers and assessed the change in blood pressure, heart rate, muscle sympathetic nerve activity and heart rate variability. After diazepam administration, systolic and mean blood pressure decreased significantly. Muscle sympathetic nerve activity was also significantly reduced but heart rate did not change, whereas the variables of spectral analysis of heart rate variability did not show significant change. We concluded that the hypotensive effect of diazepam in human is mainly due to the central mechanism.
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