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Thursday, 22 March 2012

Dothiepin - Sedative antidepressants impair visual detection mechanisms in humans.- B0B FIDDAMAN blog

Sedative antidepressants impair visual detection mechanisms in humans.

Weinstein A, Wilson S, Bailey J, Nutt D.

SourcePsychopharmacology Unit, University of Bristol, School of Medical Sciences, University Walk, Bristol BS8 1TD, UK.


The safety of sedative antidepressants is a topical issue in the treatment of depression, with driving impairment being of particular concern. We have recently completed a study with normal male volunteers comparing the actions of dothiepin (a traditional, sedating antidepressant) with those of fluvoxamine (one of the selective serotonin re-uptake-inhibiting SSRI class of newer antidepressants) on psychomotor functions relevant to driving. We set out to investigate whether these drugs impair visual selective attention (focused and divided) by employing the 'odd-ball' task. Subjects were required to respond to letters of the alphabet (T for target and other letters for non-targets) that were presented at the centre and/or periphery of the computer screen. The task has been shown to be useful in detecting differences between drugs in their effects on selective attention. Preliminary results show that dothiepin delayed responses to single targets compared with fluvoxamine and placebo. There was also preliminary evidence that it mainly affected response times to peripheral targets. Furthermore, there was preliminary evidence that both drugs delayed responses to central targets compared with placebo on the divided attention trials. Finally, response accuracy in detecting peripheral targets was greater under placebo compared with fluvoxamine and dothiepin. The impairment produced by dothiepin is presumably a consequence of the central blockade of cholinergic muscarinic or histaminergic H1 receptors. It could contribute to the reported association between the tricyclic class of antidepressants and road traffic accidents, and would be worth further investigation in depressed patients taking both classes of drug.

PMID:22302891[PubMed - in process]

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