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Brain Res Bull. 2002 Aug 15;58(4):345-50.

The SSRIs drug Fluoxetine, but not the noradrenergic tricyclic drug Desipramine, improves memory performance during acute major depression.

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1
Shalvata Mental Health Center, Hod Hasharon, Israel.

Abstract

Accumulating evidence suggests that noradrenergic and serotonergic drugs are equally effective in ameliorating the depressive symptoms of major depression. Major depression is associated also with memory impairments, but the comparative effects of the antidepressant drugs on memory are not clear. We previously found that serotonergic neurotransmission is of particular importance for some aspects of episodic memory. We set out to test whether treatment with the selective serotonergic drug Fluoxetine (Prozac) would be advantageous in this respect over treatment with the selective noradrenergic tricyclic antidepressant drug Desipramine (Deprexan). Seventeen patients with major depressive episode, randomly assigned for treatment with either Fluoxetine (n = 8) or Desipramine (n = 9), were assessed for their clinical situation and for memory performance at the beginning of treatment, after 3 weeks, and after 6 weeks of pharmacological treatment. We found that although clinically both drugs were equally effective, the improvement of memory performance in the Fluoxetine-treated patients was significantly greater compared with that of the Desipramine-treated patients. The results support the role of serotonin in memory. More studies in larger samples of patients are required, but it may be that in cases where memory impairment is a major symptom, it would be beneficial to consider serotonergic antidepressant drugs for treatment. Furthermore, in cases where, for various reasons, the treatment of choice is noradrenergic, it may be worthwhile to consider a supplementary serotonergic drug to improve memory deficits.

PMID:
12183009
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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