To assess whether acute 5-hydroxytryptamine-1A (5-HT1A)-receptor-mediated corticotropin, cortisol, and temperature responses are maintained after 3 weeks of treatment with controlled-release (CR) ipsapirone and fluoxetine compared with placebo and whether changes are reversible after cessation of treatment.
This was a randomized parallel-group study. Ten healthy subjects received ipsapirone CR or fluoxetine, and eight received placebo in a double-blind manner. An ipsapirone challenge test with 20 mg ipsapirone immediate-release formulation (IR) was performed before treatment (day 0) and after 20 days of treatment with placebo, 80 mg/day ipsapirone CR, or 20 mg/day fluoxetine (day 21). From day 22 to day 34 all subjects received placebo in a simple-blind manner. A third ipsapirone challenge test was performed on day 35.
Before treatment, resting plasma corticotropin and cortisol concentrations and increases in plasma corticotropin and cortisol concentrations after challenge with 20 mg ipsapirone IR were similar for the three groups. After 20 days of treatment, plasma corticotropin and cortisol concentrations were similar before challenge, but ipsapirone IR-induced increases in plasma corticotropin and cortisol concentrations were significantly lower in both the ipsapirone CR group (corticotropin, 6.5 +/- 2 pg/ml; cortisol, 1.5 +/- 0.7 micrograms/dl) and fluoxetine group (corticotropin 4.4 +/- 2 pg/ml; cortisol 1.5 +/- 0.7 micrograms/dl) compared with placebo (corticotropin, 34 +/- 14 pg/ml; cortisol, 5.8 +/- 2 micrograms/dl, mean +/- SEM). After 2 weeks of placebo administration, plasma corticotropin and cortisol responses to ipsapirone IR again became identical in all three groups. Plasma ipsapirone concentrations were similar in all groups during each challenge. The hypothermic response to ipsapirone IR showed no difference before treatment, at the end of the treatment period, or 2 weeks after cessation of treatment. Long-term administration of antidepressants to the healthy subjects did not lead to any serious adverse effects.
Long-term administration of fluoxetine and ipsapirone did not influence resting plasma corticotropin and cortisol concentrations in the morning. Stimulation of corticotropin and cortisol release by a selective 5-HT1A-agonist is reduced with long-term administration of these serotoninergic antidepressants. This subsensitivity of postsynaptic 5-HT1A-receptors is reversible.