Research Article| Volume 20, ISSUE 5, P546-557, May 1985

A controlled clinical trial of l-tryptophan in acute mania

  • G. Chouinard
    Address reprint requests to Dr. G. Chouinard, Clinical Psychopharmacology Unit, Allan Memorial Institute, 1025 Pine Avenue West, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3A 1A1.
    Clinical Psychopharmacology Unit, Allan Memorial Institute, Royal Victoria Hospital, Canada

    Department of Psychiatry, McGill University, Montreal, Canada

    Research Department, Hospital Louis-H. Lafontaine, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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  • S.N. Young
    Laboratory of Neurochemistry, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University, Montreal, Canada
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  • L. Annable
    Clinical Psychopharmacology Unit, Allan Memorial Institute, Royal Victoria Hospital, Canada

    Department of Psychiatry, McGill University, Montreal, Canada
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      In a 2-week study, 24 newly admitted manic patients were treated for 1 week with Math Eq (12 g/day); during the second week, half the patients, chosen at random, continued to receive tryptophan, while placebo was substituted in the other half under double-blind conditions. In the open phase of the study, there was a clinically and statistically (p < 0.001) significant reduction in manic symptom scores, with little need for haloperidol prn. Patients who continued to be treated with tryptophan showed no significant change in mean scores during the second week, but those who were switched to placebo tended (p < 0.10) to show an increase in the mean scores for manic symptoms. There was a significant (p < 0.05) increase in the geometric mean of morning fasting total and free plasma tryptophan concentrations in men, but not in women. These results suggest that increasing the synthesis of 5-hydroxytryptamine has some therapeutic effect in mania.
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