Pharmacopsychiatry 2003; 36 - 279
DOI: 10.1055/s-2003-825522

EEG abnormalities associated with antidepressant treatment: A comparison of mirtazapine, citalopram, venlafaxine, reboxetine and amitriptyline

A Sterr 1, F Padberg 1, R Mergl 1, B Amann 1, C Mulert 1, G Juckel 1, H Grunze 1, U Hegerl 1, O Pogarell 1
  • 1Dept. of Psychiatry, Section of Clinical Neurophysiology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany

Objectives: Abnormalities in electroencephalography (EEG) recordings may occasionally occur during treatment with antipsychotics. In contrast, limited data are available regarding antidepressants. We investigated EEG changes in patients receiving a stable monotherapy with mirtazapine, citalopram, reboxetine, venlafaxine, amitriptyline. Methods: Digital EEG recordings of 255 patients (80-mirtazapine, 58-citalopram, 22-reboxetine, 50-venlafaxine, 45-amitriptyline) were retrieved from a database and visually interpreted by two independent raters. Results: There was no statistically significant difference between groups regarding the frequency of EEG-abnormalities, which were found in 6(7.5%) patients with mirtazapine, 4(6.9%) with citalopram, none with reboxetine, 9(18%) with venlafaxine, and 5(11.1%) with amitriptyline. Epileptiform activity was not observed in any group. Conclusion: Mildly abnormal EEG patterns may occur, but are generally rare during antidepressive monotherapy. However, a higher frequency of abnormalities may be observed with venlafaxine or amitriptyline. No epileptiform EEG activity was observed as previously reported for mirtazapine.