Pharmacopsychiatry 2004; 37(5): 200-205
DOI: 10.1055/s-2004-827244
Original Paper
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

The Impact of the Selective Monoamine Reuptake Inhibitors Reboxetine and Citalopram on Visually-Evoked Event-Related Potentials in Depressed Patients

G. Hetzel1 , O. Moeller1 , A. Erfurth1 , N. Michael1 , M. Rothermundt1 , V. Arolt1 , S. Evers2
  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Muenster, Muenster, Germany
  • 2Department of Neurology, University of Muenster, Muenster, Germany
Further Information

Publication History

Received: 20.2.2003 Revised: 16.5.2003

Accepted: 3.7.2003

Publication Date:
10 September 2004 (online)

Objective: The aim of our study was to assess the possible relationship between event-related potentials (ERP) and serotonergic or noradrenergic activity in depression. Therefore, we were interested in the impact of different monoamine reuptake inhibitors on ERP.

Methods: Thirty-six inpatients with major depression were treated with either reboxetine (n = 17) or citalopram (n = 19) in a prospective randomized study. Before and after four weeks of treatment, visually-evoked ERP were investigated. Twenty-two patients completed the study. Monoaminergic function was determined by oral reboxetine and citalopram challenge tests.

Results: P3 latency significantly decreased after a four-week treatment with either drug. There was no significant difference in the decrease of P3 latency between both drugs. We detected a significant inverse correlation between serotonergic hypofunction before treatment and the P3 latency (r = -0.739, p = 0.001).

Conclusions: These results show that, in depressed patients, the P3 latency is decreased by antidepressive treatment. Furthermore, the results suggest that P3 latency might depend on the serotonergic rather than the noradrenergic system.


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Guenter Hetzel, MD

Department of Psychiatry

University of Muenster

Albert-Schweitzer-Str. 11

48129 Muenster


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