Original article| Volume 40, ISSUE 6, P465-473, September 15, 1996

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Initial increase of plasma serotonin: A biological predictor for the antidepressant response to clomipramine?

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      Hypofunction of the serotonin (5-HT) system might be involved in depression. Initial effects of the 5-HT reuptake inhibitor clomipramine (CMI) on plasma 5-HT have never been assessed. On Day 1, 27 depressed patients received either a 25-mg CMI slow infusion or a 25-mg CMI tablet in a randomized, double-blind, double-dummy design. The daily dose was subsequently titrated up to 75 mg i.v. or 150 mg orally. The Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) was rated on Days 1, 4, 7 and 14. High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC-EC) assays of plasma 5-HT, platelet 5-HT, and CMI were performed on Day 1 before and after the infusion. On Day 1, both groups experienced a mean (nonsignificant) plasma 5-HT increase; in the i.v. group this initial increase correlated with MADRS decrease over 14 days (r = 0.76, p = .0025). Correlations between platelet 5-HT and MADRS decrease were not significant. These preliminary data show that: i) CMI administration results in initial changes in plasma 5-HT; and ii) i.v. CMI-induced initial plasma 5-HT increase is consistent with the CMI 5-HT profile, and might predict the clinical response to CMI.

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