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UNLABELLED - This study assessed the effects of the serotonin (5-HT) and norepinephrine (NE) transporter inhibitor duloxetine on the effects of 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine (MDMA, ecstasy) in vitro and in 16 healthy subjects. The clinical study used a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, four-session, crossover design. In vitro, duloxetine blocked the release of both 5-HT and NE by MDMA or by its metabolite 3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine from transmitter-loaded human cells expressing the 5-HT or NE transporter. In humans, duloxetine inhibited the effects of MDMA including elevations in circulating NE, increases in blood pressure and heart rate, and the subjective drug effects. Duloxetine inhibited the pharmacodynamic response to MDMA despite an increase in duloxetine-associated elevations in plasma MDMA levels. The findings confirm the important role of MDMA-induced 5-HT and NE release in the psychotropic effects of MDMA. Duloxetine may be useful in the treatment of psychostimulant dependence.
TRIAL REGISTRATION - Clinicaltrials.gov NCT00990067.
BACKGROUND - 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, ecstasy) misuse is associated with hyponatremia particularly in women. Hyponatremia is possibly due to inappropriate secretion of plasma arginine vasopressin (AVP).
OBJECTIVE - To assess whether MDMA increases plasma AVP and copeptin in healthy male and female subjects and whether effects depend on MDMA-induced release of serotonin and norepinephrine. Copeptin, the C-terminal part of the AVP precursor preprovasopressin, is cosecreted with AVP and can be determined more reliably.
METHODS - We used a randomized placebo-controlled crossover design. Plasma and urine osmolalities as well as AVP and copeptin levels were measured in 16 healthy subjects (eight female, eight male) at baseline and after MDMA (125 mg) administration. In addition, we tested whether effects of MDMA on AVP and copeptin secretion can be prevented by pretreatment with the serotonin and norepinephrine transporter inhibitor duloxetine (120 mg), which blocks MDMA-induced transporter-mediated release of serotonin and norepinephrine.
RESULTS - MDMA significantly elevated plasma copeptin levels at 60 min and at 120 min compared with placebo in women but not in men. The copeptin response to MDMA in women was prevented by duloxetine. MDMA also nonsignificantly increased plasma AVP levels in women, and the effect was prevented by duloxetine. Although subjects drank more water after MDMA compared with placebo administration, MDMA tended to increase urine sodium levels and urine osmolality compared with placebo, indicating increased renal water retention.
CONCLUSION - MDMA increased plasma copeptin, a marker for AVP secretion, in women but not in men. This sex difference in MDMA-induced AVP secretion may explain why hyponatremia is typically reported in female ecstasy users. The copeptin response to MDMA is likely mediated via MDMA-induced release of serotonin and/or norepinephrine because it was prevented by duloxetine, which blocks the interaction of MDMA with the serotonergic and noradrenergic system.
OBJECTIVE - To assess the efficacy and safety of duloxetine, a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, in subjects with primary fibromyalgia, with or without current major depressive disorder.
METHODS - This study was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial conducted in 18 outpatient research centers in the US. A total of 207 subjects meeting the American College of Rheumatology criteria for primary fibromyalgia were enrolled (89% female, 87% white, mean age 49 years, 38% with current major depressive disorder). After single-blind placebo treatment for 1 week, subjects were randomly assigned to receive duloxetine 60 mg twice a day (n = 104) or placebo (n = 103) for 12 weeks. Co-primary outcome measures were the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ) total score (score range 0-80, with 0 indicating no impact) and FIQ pain score (score range 0-10). Secondary outcome measures included mean tender point pain threshold, number of tender points, FIQ fatigue, tiredness on awakening, and stiffness scores, Clinical Global Impression of Severity (CGI-Severity) scale, Patient Global Impression of Improvement (PGI-Improvement) scale, Brief Pain Inventory (short form), Medical Outcomes Study Short Form 36, Quality of Life in Depression Scale, and Sheehan Disability Scale.
RESULTS - Compared with placebo-treated subjects, duloxetine-treated subjects improved significantly more (P = 0.027) on the FIQ total score, with a treatment difference of -5.53 (95% confidence interval -10.43, -0.63), but not significantly more on the FIQ pain score (P = 0.130). Compared with placebo-treated subjects, duloxetine-treated subjects had significantly greater reductions in Brief Pain Inventory average pain severity score (P = 0.008), Brief Pain Inventory average interference from pain score (P = 0.004), number of tender points (P = 0.002), and FIQ stiffness score (P = 0.048), and had significantly greater improvement in mean tender point pain threshold (P = 0.002), CGI-Severity (P = 0.048), PGI-Improvement (P = 0.033), and several quality-of-life measures. Duloxetine treatment improved fibromyalgia symptoms and pain severity regardless of baseline status of major depressive disorder. Compared with placebo-treated female subjects (n = 92), duloxetine-treated female subjects (n = 92) demonstrated significantly greater improvement on most efficacy measures, while duloxetine-treated male subjects (n = 12) failed to improve significantly on any efficacy measure. The treatment effect on significant pain reduction in female subjects was independent of the effect on mood or anxiety. Duloxetine was safely administered and well tolerated.
CONCLUSION - In this randomized, controlled, 12-week trial (with a 1-week placebo lead-in phase), duloxetine was an effective and safe treatment for many of the symptoms associated with fibromyalgia in subjects with or without major depressive disorder, particularly for women, who had significant improvement across most outcome measures.
BACKGROUND - To assess the sensitivity of biochemical, physiological, and pharmacological markers of peripheral norepinephrine (NE) transporter (NET) function, we chronically antagonized NET by a range of doses of duloxetine [(+)-N-methyl-3-(1-naphthalenyloxy)-2 thiophenepropanamine], which blocks the NE reuptake process.
METHODS AND RESULTS - Duloxetine was administered in a randomized, placebo-controlled study in 15 healthy volunteers. Plasma from duloxetine-treated subjects (ex vivo effect) dose-dependently decreased radioligand binding to human NET (maximum inhibition was 60%) (P=0.02). The dose of intravenous tyramine required to raise systolic blood pressure by 30 mm Hg (PD30) increased dose-dependently with duloxetine and was significant at the end of the 120-mg/d dosage (P<0.001). The plasma dihydoxyphenylglycol to NE (DHPG/NE) ratio was reduced significantly at 2 weeks of treatment with 80 mg/d duloxetine (11.3 at baseline, 3.4 at 240 mg/d, P<0.001). Plasma NE was significantly increased starting at 120 mg/d duloxetine. Urine results (corrected for 24-hour creatinine excretion) showed a dose-dependent change from the baseline urinary excretion for NE, DHPG, and the DHPG/NE ratio. The most sensitive measure, the DHPG/NE ratio, was significant at the 80-mg dose. Urinary NE excretion was significantly raised after 2 weeks of treatment with 80 mg/d duloxetine (P<0.001), the lowest dose used in the study.
CONCLUSIONS - These findings suggest that the degree of NET blockade can be assessed with the plasma or urine DHPG/NE ratio and the pressor effect of tyramine. Also, the DHPG/NE ratio is more sensitive at the lower end of NET inhibition, whereas tyramine exhibits a linear relation, with NET inhibition commencing at a higher dose.