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Selective effects of serotonergic psychoactive agents on gastrointestinal functions in health.

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  • 1Clinical Enteric Neuroscience Translational and Epidemiological Research Program, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota 55905, USA.


This study evaluated the effects of serotonergic psychoactive agents on gastrointestinal functions in healthy human subjects. Participants received one of four regimens in a randomized, double-blind manner: buspirone, a 5-HT(1A) receptor agonist (10 mg twice daily); paroxetine, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (20 mg daily); venlafaxine-XR, a selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (75 mg daily); or placebo for 11 days. Physiological testing performed on days 8-11 included scintigraphic assessment of gastrointestinal and colonic transit, the nutrient drink test, and assessment of the postprandial change in gastric volume. Fifty-one healthy adults (40 females, 11 males) participated in this study. No effects on gastric emptying or colonic transit were identified with any agent. Small bowel transit of a solid meal was accelerated by paroxetine. Buspirone decreased postprandial aggregate symptom and nausea scores. Venlafaxine-XR increased the postprandial change in gastric volume. Buspirone, paroxetine, and venlafaxine-XR affect upper gastrointestinal functions in healthy humans. These data support the need for clinical and physiological studies of these agents in functional gastrointestinal disorders.

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