To evaluate whether serotonin reuptake inhibition is critical to the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder, 40 outpatients with a principal diagnosis of obsessive-compulsive disorder were randomized in a double-blind fashion to 8 weeks of treatment with either the serotonin reuptake inhibitor fluvoxamine maleate (n = 21) or the norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor desipramine hydrochloride (n =19). Fluvoxamine was significantly better than desipramine in reducing the severity of obsessive-compulsive symptoms, as measured by the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale and by the global response rate (“responder” equaling “much improved”). Eleven of 21 patients were responders with fluvoxamine compared with 2 of 19 patients with desipramine. Fluvoxamine, but not desipramine, was also effective in reducing the severity of “secondary” depression. Fluvoxamine-induced improvement in symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder was not correlated with the severity of baseline depressive symptoms. This study provides additional evidence that the acute serotonin reuptake properties of a drug are predictive of its anti—obsessive-compulsive efficacy. It is hypothesized that the mechanism of action of serotonin reuptake inhibitors in obsessive-compulsive disorder may be related to chronic treatment-induced adaptive changes in presynaptic serotonin receptor function (eg, autoreceptor desensitization) and/ or indirect influences on dopaminergic function (eg, in the basal ganglia).
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Archives of General Psychiatry|
|State||Published - Jun 1990|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Psychiatry and Mental health