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Concept: Reuptake inhibitor


An aversion to harming others is a core component of human morality and is disturbed in antisocial behavior [1-4]. Deficient harm aversion may underlie instrumental and reactive aggression, which both feature in psychopathy [5]. Past work has highlighted monoaminergic influences on aggression [6-11], but a mechanistic account of how monoamines regulate antisocial motives remains elusive. We previously observed that most people show a greater aversion to inflicting pain on others than themselves [12]. Here, we investigated whether this hyperaltruistic disposition is susceptible to monoaminergic control. We observed dissociable effects of the serotonin reuptake inhibitor citalopram and the dopamine precursor levodopa on decisions to inflict pain on oneself and others for financial gain. Computational models of choice behavior showed that citalopram increased harm aversion for both self and others, while levodopa reduced hyperaltruism. The effects of citalopram were stronger than those of levodopa. Crucially, neither drug influenced the physical perception of pain or other components of choice such as motor impulsivity or loss aversion [13, 14], suggesting a direct and specific influence of serotonin and dopamine on the valuation of harm. We also found evidence for dose dependency of these effects. Finally, the drugs had dissociable effects on response times, with citalopram enhancing behavioral inhibition and levodopa reducing slowing related to being responsible for another’s fate. These distinct roles of serotonin and dopamine in modulating moral behavior have implications for potential treatments of social dysfunction that is a common feature as well as a risk factor for many psychiatric disorders.

Concepts: Neurotransmitter, Serotonin, Mental disorder, Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, Morality, Dopamine, Antisocial personality disorder, Reuptake inhibitor


Hypothesised associations between in utero exposure to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and congenital anomalies, particularly congenital heart defects (CHD), remain controversial. We investigated the putative teratogenicity of SSRI prescription in the 91 days either side of first day of last menstrual period (LMP).

Concepts: Serotonin, Fluvoxamine, Antidepressant, Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, Sertraline, Tricyclic antidepressant, Reuptake inhibitor, Fluoxetine


To estimate the association between prenatal exposure to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and motor development in children considering the effect of maternal symptoms of anxiety and depression before, during and after pregnancy.

Concepts: Serotonin, Antidepressant, Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, Major depressive disorder, Sertraline, Tricyclic antidepressant, Reuptake inhibitor, Fluoxetine


To investigate the proposed synergistic teratogenic effect of use of selective serotonin receptor inhibitors (SSRI) together with sedatives or hypnotics, primarily benzodiazepines, during pregnancy.

Concepts: Developmental biology, Serotonin, Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, Congenital disorder, Tricyclic antidepressant, Reuptake inhibitor, Congenital disorders, Congenital


To follow up on previously reported associations between periconceptional use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and specific birth defects using an expanded dataset from the National Birth Defects Prevention Study.

Concepts: Serotonin, Antidepressant, Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, Major depressive disorder, Sertraline, Tricyclic antidepressant, Reuptake inhibitor, Fluoxetine


Objectives To evaluate the risk of all cause mortality associated with initiating compared with not initiating benzodiazepines in adults, and to address potential treatment barriers and confounding related to the use of a non-active comparator group.Design Retrospective cohort study.Setting Large de-identified US commercial healthcare database (Optum Clinformatics Datamart).Participants 1:1 high dimensional propensity score matched cohort of benzodiazepine initiators, and randomly selected benzodiazepine non-initiators with a medical visit within 14 days of the start of benzodiazepine treatment (n=1 252 988), between July 2004 and December 2013. To address treatment barriers and confounding, patients were required to have filled one or more prescriptions for any medication in the 90 days and 91-180 days before the index date (ie, the date of starting benzodiazepine treatment for initiators and the date of the selected medical visit for benzodiazepine non-initiators) and the high dimensional propensity score was estimated on the basis of more than 300 covariates.Main outcome measure All cause mortality, determined by linkage with the Social Security Administration Death Master File.Results Over a six month follow-up period, 5061 and 4691 deaths occurred among high dimensional propensity score matched benzodiazepine initiators versus non-initiators (9.3 v 9.4 events per 1000 person years; hazard ratio 1.00, 95% confidence interval 0.96 to 1.04). A 4% (95% confidence interval 1% to 8%) to 9% (2% to 7%) increase in mortality risk was observed associated with the start of benzodiazepine treatment for follow-ups of 12 and 48 months and in subgroups of younger patients and patients initiating short acting agents. In secondary analyses comparing 1:1 high dimensional propensity score matched patients initiating benzodiazepines with an active comparator, ie, patients starting treatment with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressants, benzodiazepine use was associated with a 9% (95% confidence interval 3% to 16%) increased risk.Conclusions This large population based cohort study suggests either no increase or at most a minor increase in risk of all cause mortality associated with benzodiazepine initiation. If a detrimental effect exists, it is likely to be much smaller than previously stated and to have uncertain clinical relevance. Residual confounding likely explains at least part of the small increase in mortality risk observed in selected analyses.

Concepts: Experimental design, Epidemiology, Actuarial science, Relative risk, Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, Statistical terminology, Benzodiazepine, Reuptake inhibitor


Although selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are widely prescribed, associations with violence are uncertain.

Concepts: Serotonin, Crime, Violent crime, Violence, Antidepressant, Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, Tricyclic antidepressant, Reuptake inhibitor



Down syndrome DS is a genetic pathology characterized by brain hypotrophy and severe cognitive impairment. Although defective neurogenesis is an important determinant of mental disability, a severe dendritic pathology appears to be an equally important factor. A previous study showed that fluoxetine, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, fully restores neurogenesis in the Ts65Dn mouse model of DS. The goal of the current study was to establish whether fluoxetine also restores dendritic development. In mice aged 45 days, treated with fluoxetine in the postnatal period P3-P15, we examined the dendritic arbor of the granule cells of the dentate gyrus (DG). The granule cells of trisomic mice had a severely hypotrophic dendritic arbor, fewer spines and a reduced innervation than euploid mice. Treatment with fluoxetine fully restored all these defects. In Ts65Dn mice, we found reduced levels of serotonin that were restored by treatment. Results show that a pharmacotherapy with fluoxetine is able to rescue not only the number of granule neurons but also their “quality” in terms of correct maturation and connectivity. These findings strongly suggest that fluoxetine may be a drug of choice for the improvement of the major defects in the DS brain and, possibly, of mental retardation.

Concepts: Neuron, Dentate gyrus, Neurogenesis, Granule cell, Serotonin, Antidepressant, Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, Reuptake inhibitor


Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are antidepressants which have high affinity to both serotonin transporter (SERT) and norepinephrine transporter (NET). In studies in vitro, SNRIs have been reported to show a large variability in the affinity ratio between SERT and NET. For instance, the reported affinity ratio is about 30 for venlafaxine and 1.6 for milnacipran. In this study in nonhuman primates, we aimed to investigate the relationship between SERT and NET affinity by measuring the in vivo occupancy at both transporters of venlafaxine and milnacipran.

Concepts: Serotonin, Antidepressant, Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, Major depressive disorder, Dopamine, Norepinephrine, Tricyclic antidepressant, Reuptake inhibitor