Pharmacopsychiatry 2003; 36 - 187
DOI: 10.1055/s-2003-825438

Effects of sertraline on kinematical aspects of hand movements in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder*

R Mergl 1, P Mavrogiorgou 2, G Juckel 2, O Pogarell 1, C Göbel 3, M Zaudig 4, W Hauke 4, U Hegerl 1
  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Germany
  • 2Department of Psychiatry, Wilhelm-von-Humboldt-Universität Berlin, Germany
  • 3Pfizer Inc., Germany
  • 4Psychosomatic Hospital Windach, Germany

Movement disorders like disturbances of fine motor coordination are a frequent phenomenon in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) (1). Our aim was to investigate changes of hand motor dysfunction in OCD patients under the influence of ten-week treatment with sertraline and behaviour therapy.

We examined performance of 40 patients satisfying DSM-IV criteria for OCD before and under this therapy using a digitising tablet and kinematical analysis of handwriting and drawing movements, as described previously (2). 40 healthy controls were also tested (test-retest interval: ten weeks).

The speed of drawing was significantly lower in OCD patients than in controls (mean (standard deviation)=197.03 (113.26)mm/s for patients and 182.48 (189.61)mm/s for controls; p=0.01). After ten weeks of therapy, this parameter normalised in patients (from 197.03 (113.26) to 163.66 (101.92)mm/s; p=0.001).

It can be concluded that hand-motor dysfunction (especially motor slowing) improves with a serotonin enhancing therapy in OCD patients.

* Supported by Pfizer.

1. Hollander E. et al. Arch Gen Psychiatry 47 (1990) 27–32;

2. Mergl R. et al. J Neurosci Meth 90 (1999) 157–169