The Effect of Chronic Alprazolam on Sleep and Bioamine Metabolites in Depression

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Alprazolam administered for 43 days in doses of 6 to 10 mg/day had an antidepressant effect in four of nine depressed patients. Decreases in slow wave sleep, increases in rapid eye movement (REM) latency, and decreases in REM minutes and percent and REM sleep eye movements were found in the group as a whole. The drug had a general hypnotic effect with a trend toward increased total sleep time. Nonsignificant changes in the concentrations of 3-methyl-4-hydroxyphenylglycol and homovanillic acid in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) were qualitatively similar to those found after treatment with triyclic antidepressant drugs; however, only the larger decreases in CSF 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid achieved statistical significance. Baseline sleep and CSF metabolites and changes in these measures on drug did not predict the therapeutic effects of alprazolam

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