Differential physiological effects of a low dose and high doses of venlafaxine in major depression
ABSTRACT Venlafaxine is an antidepressant drug with demonstrated serotonin (5-HT) and norepinephrine (NE) reuptake blockade properties in electrophysiological and microdialysis experiments in laboratory animals. In healthy volunteers, its 5-HT reuptake-inhibiting potential has also been clearly documented, but not its NE reuptake blockade action. This double-blind study compared the effects of a low dose (75 mg) and of a forced titration of high (up to 375 mg in 1 wk) daily doses of venlafaxine. Forty-four patients with major depression according to DSM-IV criteria were assessed bi-weekly for the first 2 wk and weekly for the next 2 wk. Inhibition of 5-HT reuptake was estimated using the depletion of whole-blood 5-HT, while that of NE was assessed using the attenuation of the systolic blood-pressure elevations produced by intravenous injections of tyramine. Forty-two patients completed the study. Both the low and the high doses of venlafaxine decreased the levels of 5-HT to the same extent: the reduction was of about 55% after 1 wk and of 75% after 4 wk. The 75 mg/d dose of venlafaxine did not alter the tyramine pressor response, whereas, in patients receiving the higher regimens of venlafaxine, there was a significant attenuation of the pressor effect of tyramine. There was no significant difference between the two treatment arms regarding the modifications of the depression scores. The present data showed that, at its minimal effective dose in depression (75 mg/d), venlafaxine acted as a selective 5-HT reuptake inhibitor, whereas when administered at higher doses (225 and 375 mg/d), it acted as a dual 5-HT and NE reuptake inhibitor.
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ABSTRACT: Predicting differential antidepressant efficacy remains an elusive goal in major depressive disorder (MDD). The aims of this study were three-fold. Firstly, to examine if psychomotor retardation symptoms (item 8 on the 17-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale) improve preferentially to venlafaxine (VEN) over escitalopram (ESC) treatment. Secondly, whether the 18 item CORE psychomotor signs scale predicted antidepressant remission. Finally, to investigate the role of two norepinephrine transporter gene (NET) polymorphisms (rs2242446 and rs5569) on antidepressant efficacy. Adults with Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th ed. MDD (n=113) were treated with ESC or VEN prospectively for 8 weeks and rated serially with the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale. In a subsample (n=51) of patients from one of the three recruitment sites, the CORE psychomotor signs scale was also administered at baseline. Participants treated with VEN had significantly greater reduction in psychomotor retardation symptoms than those treated with ESC. The CORE scale did not predict antidepressant response or remission. Neither NET polymorphism moderated antidepressant efficacy. Findings suggest possible preferential utility of a selective serotonin and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor in cases of MDD presenting with greater psychomotor retardation. The moderate to small sample size makes a type II error risk possible, and the negative findings need to be interpreted with caution. The positive finding of preferential efficacy of VEN for psychomotor retardation symptoms has potential translational utility.International clinical psychopharmacology 03/2013; 28(3). DOI:10.1097/YIC.0b013e32835f1b9f · 3.10 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Neurotransmitters and hormones regulate major immune functions, including the selection of T helper (Th)1 or Th2 cytokine responses, related to cell-mediated and humoral immunity, respectively. A role of imbalance and dynamic switching of Th1/Th2 system has been proposed, with relative displacement of the immune reserve in relation to complex interaction between Th1/Th2 and neuro-hormonal balance fluctuations, in the pathogenesis of various chronic human diseases, probably also including psychiatric disorders. Components of the stress system such as norepinephrine (NE) and glucocorticoids appear to mediate a Th2 shift, while serotonin (5-HT) and melatonin might mediate a Th1 shift. Some antidepressants would occur affecting these systems, acting on neurotransmitter balance (especially the 5-HT/NE balance) and expression levels of receptor subtypes, which in turn affect cytokine production and relative Th1/Th2 balance. It could be therefore hypothesized that the antidepressant-related increase in NE tone enhances the Th2 response, while the decrease in NE tone or the increase in 5-HT tone enhances the Th1 response. However, the neurotransmitter and Th1/Th2 balance modulation could be relative, aiming to restore physiological levels a previous imbalance in receptor sensitivity and cytokine production. The considerations on neuro-immunomodulation could represent an additional aid in the study of pathophysiology of psychiatric disorders and in the choice of specific antidepressants in specific clusters of symptoms, especially in comorbidity with internal pathologies. Furthermore limited data, reviewed here, have shown the effectiveness of some antidepressants as pure immunomodulators. However, these considerations are tentative and require experimental confirmation or refutation by future studies.DNA research: an international journal for rapid publication of reports on genes and genomes 06/2012; 10(2):97-123. DOI:10.2174/157015912800604542 · 2.35 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Clinical effectiveness reflects a balance between efficacy and tolerability as well as patient satisfaction and overall improvement in quality of life and function. This is of particular importance when considering the long term use of antidepressant therapies for relapse prevention. The purpose of this review is to explore methods to enhance the modest efficacy and effectiveness outcomes reported with current antidepressant strategies. Two strategies are addressed: a) Doing better with existing treatments and b) pursuing novel targets beyond the monoamine system for new antidepressant drug development. In the first instance, it is important to consider the balance between antidepressant efficacy and tolerability for individual patients and also be aware of evidence supporting superiority of one agent over others. Both sequential and concurrent combination therapies with existing antidepressants are also reviewed. The second approach involves a review of emerging novel pharmacological treatments based on biomarker research. Unique targets where antidepressant treatments appear effective include the melatonergic, glutamatergic, neurotrophic, cytokine, and neuropeptide systems. While agomelatine represents an example of a clinically available antidepressant that targets melatonin receptors, drugs that act on other candidate systems are still in the development phase.Journal of Affective Disorders 05/2011; 132 Suppl 1:S21-8. DOI:10.1016/j.jad.2011.03.048 · 3.71 Impact Factor