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Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2005 Nov;182(3):321-6. Epub 2005 Oct 19.

Effects of paroxetine on cardiovascular response to mental stress in subjects with a history of coronary artery disease and no psychiatric diagnoses.

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  • 1Psych Support Inc., Raleigh, NC, USA.



Paroxetine may decrease mental stress-induced cardiovascular responses and so benefit individuals with heart disease, even those with no psychiatric illness.


The effects of paroxetine on cardiovascular measures during a speech task were evaluated in psychiatrically healthy subjects with a history of coronary artery disease (CAD).


Eight subjects completed this double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over study in which each subject took 1 month of paroxetine and 4 weeks of placebo in random order. While on each study, medication, blood pressure, heart rate, and plasma norepinephrine concentrations were measured during a period of relaxation and during a mental stressor. The mental stressor consisted of thinking about a stressful topic, speaking about the topic, and listening to a tape-recorded replay of the speech.


While on paroxetine, systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure were 10-15% lower (p < 0.005) during the stressor, relative to measures obtained while on placebo. Pulse and plasma norepinephrine concentrations during stress trended lower during paroxetine treatment but did not reach statistical significance.


Paroxetine has antihypertensive properties during periods of psychological stress in psychiatrically healthy subjects with a history of CAD, and so should be evaluated for potential cardio-protective qualities.

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