Venlafaxine but not bupropion decreases cerebrospinal fluid 5- hydroxyindoleacetic acid in unipolar depression

John T. Little, Terence A. Ketter, Aleksander A. Mathé, Mark A. Frye, Dave Luckenbaugh, Robert M. Post

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Background: While the antidepressants venlafaxine and bupropion are known to have different neurochemical profiles in vitro, their effects on human cerebral metabolism in vivo have not been directly compared. Methods: Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels of 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA), serotonin, 3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenylglycol (MHPG), homovanillic acid (HVA), and 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC) were examined in 14 never- hospitalized outpatients with unipolar depression and 10 age-similar healthy controls. Patients received a baseline lumbar puncture (LP), which was repeated after at least 6 weeks of randomized monotherapy with either venlafaxine or bupropion, while controls received only a baseline LP. Results: Patients (n = 9) receiving venlafaxine showed a significant decrease (42%) in their CSF 5-HIAA concentrations after treatment, but no change in other CSF measures. In contrast, patients receiving bupropion (n = 8) showed no change in CSF measures compared to pretreatment values. Conclusions: While the mechanism for this differential effect of venlafaxine remains to be determined, the current study provides confirmation of the different aminergic effects of venlafaxine and bupropion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)285-289
Number of pages5
JournalBiological psychiatry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 1999


  • 5- hydroxyindoleacetic acid
  • Bupropion
  • Cerebrospinal fluid
  • Depression
  • Serotonin
  • Venlafaxine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry


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