An Olfactory Reference Syndrome Successfully Treated by Aripiprazole Augmentation of Antidepressant Therapy

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To describe a case of a 65-year-old woman with persistent olfactory hallucination and delusional self-reference, successfully treated by aripiprazole augmentation of antidepressant therapy.


Olfactory reference syndrome is a nosologic entity, which has been assimilated to various Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder-IV-text revision codified diseases and several pharmacologic treatments have been proposed without a constant clinical response.


Psychiatric, neurologic, neuropsychologic, imaging, and electroencephalogram data are reported.


The patient showed a significant improvement with aripiprazole.


We propose a pathophysiologic model of olfactory reference syndrome to explain the good response of our patient to aripiprazole. We hypothesize a disruption in the top-down regulation of the orbitofrontal cortex on the primary olfactory cortex and the olfactory bulb at the basis of the illness. Aripiprazole acting as a partial agonist of dopamine D2 receptors in the olfactory bulb compensates for the lack of modulation in this site, restoring the correct processing of olfactory information.

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