Therapeutic Potential of Fluoxetine in Neurological Disorders

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The selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) fluoxetine, which is registered for a variety of psychiatric disorders, has been found to stimulate the cAMP-responsive element binding protein (CREB), increase the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BNDF) and the neurotrophic peptide S100β, enhance glycogenolysis in astrocytes, block voltage-gated calcium and sodium channels, and decrease the conductance of mitochondrial voltage-dependent anion channels (VDACs). These mechanisms of actions suggest that fluoxetine may also have potential for the treatment of a number of neurological disorders. We performed a Pubmed search to review what is known about possible therapeutic effects of fluoxetine in animal models and patients with neurological disorders. Beneficial effects of fluoxetine have been noted in animal models of stroke, multiple sclerosis, and epilepsy. Fluoxetine was reported to improve neurological manifestations in patients with Alzheimer's disease, stroke, Huntington's disease, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury, and epilepsy. Clinical studies so far were small and often poorly designed. Results were inconclusive and contradictory. However, the available preclinical data justify further clinical trials to determine the therapeutic potential of fluoxetine in neurological disorders.

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