Vilazodone does not inhibit sexual behavior in male rats in contrast to paroxetine: a role for 5-HT1A receptors?
OPEN Neuropharmacology | 5 Apr 2016
RS Oosting, JS Chan, B Olivier and P Banerjee
Vilazodone (VLZ) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) and 5-HT1A receptor partial agonist approved for the treatment of major depressive disorder in adults. In preclinical studies, VLZ had significantly lower sexual side effects than SSRIs and reduced serotonin transporter (SERT) levels in forebrain regions. In the current study, once-daily paroxetine (PAR, 10 mg/kg), VLZ (10 mg/kg), PAR+buspirone (BUS, 3 mg/kg; a 5-HT1A partial agonist), or vehicle (VEH) was administered to male rats for 2 weeks then switched for 7 days (eg, PAR switched to VLZ, PAR+BUS, or VEH). Sexual behavior (eg, ejaculation frequency and latency) was evaluated 1-hr postdose on days 1, 7, 14, and 21. After 2 weeks, treatment with PAR but not VLZ resulted in a significant decrease in sexual behavior. In a 30-min test, the range of ejaculation frequency was 3.08-3.5 with VLZ and 1.00-1.92 with PAR (P<.05 vs VEH). After switching from PAR to VEH, PAR+BUS, or VEH, sexual behaviors were normalized to control levels. In contrast, the switch from VLZ to PAR resulted in reduced sexual behaviors. This preclinical study showed that unlike PAR, an SSRI with no 5-HT1A receptor activity, initial treatment with VLZ did not result in sexual side effects at therapeutically relevant doses. Results in male rats switched from PAR to VLZ or PAR+BUS strongly suggest that activation of 5-HT1A receptors may mitigate the sexual side effects associated with conventional SSRIs.
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