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Psychoneuroendocrinology. 1989;14(3):195-202.

Desipramine increases circulating growth hormone in elderly depressed patients: a pilot study.

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Research Service, West Los Angeles V.A. Medical Center, California 90073.


Serial blood samples were collected from 15 elderly depressed inpatients, ages 62 to 95 years, following random assignment to a 50 mg oral test dose of desmethylimipramine (DMI) or amitriptyline (AMI). Nine female and six male subjects began the 210-min study at 0800h. Serum growth hormone (hGH), cortisol, and prolactin (hPRL) were determined by radioimmunoassay. Baseline hormone concentrations were related to self and observer ratings of anxiety and depression. There was a trend for the hGH, cortisol, and hPRL concentrations to decline during the period of study. This trend for all three hormones reversed in those subjects receiving DMI, beginning approximately 90 min after drug ingestion. The DMI-induced increase of hGH reached statistical significance at the very end of the sampling period. There was an apparent latency in the DMI-induced effect for all three hormones. There was no stimulatory effect of AMI on hGH, cortisol, or hPRL. The female subjects had higher baseline hGH levels than the men. In addition, a significant negative correlation was found between baseline hPRL levels and self ratings of anxiety.

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