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Autonomic neurocardiac function in patients with major depression and effects of antidepressive treatment with nefazodone
Methods: Using an autonomic test battery, which consisted of standardised measurements of heart rate variability (HRV) and blood pressure, we (1) compared ANR between 25 patients with DSM-III-R diagnosed MD and 60 healthy controls, and (2) investigated the autonomic effects of antidepressive treatment with nefazodone. Results: There was a significant inverse correlation between the HRV during deep respiration and both the severity of depression and the duration of the depressive episode.Serial HRV recordings revealed that both the mean resting heart rate and systolic blood pressure significantly decreased after 21 days of nefazodone treatment whereas after 10 days there were no striking changes compared to the pre-treatment values. Conclusions: The pattern of autonomic changes during treatment suggests that nefazodone induced a dose dependent, serotonergically-mediated down-regulation of the sympathetic tone.