A mathematical model for paroxetine antidepressant effect time course and its interaction with pindolol

J Pharmacokinet Pharmacodyn. 2005 Dec;32(5-6):663-83. doi: 10.1007/s10928-005-0006-6.


Although selective 5-HT reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) block monoamine uptake within hours of administration to patients, their full clinical effect does not appear until 2-4 weeks after treatment onset. Pindolol, a betablocker with weak partial 5-HT1A receptor agonist activity has been shown to produce a more rapid onset of antidepressant action of SSRIs. However, the optimal dosing schedule of pindolol remains controversial. Building on a set-point model described previously for the hypothermic effect of 5-HT agonists, we have developed a model based on the concept of homeostatic control mechanisms, in which SSRIs exert their antidepressant effect by increasing the transduction set-point of the postsynaptic 5-HT1A receptor, and pindolol exerts its effect by increasing the rate of feedback mechanisms. The predictive distribution of the proportion of responders at each day of measurement (based on population simulation from the model) was not significantly different from the proportions observed in two published clinical trials, one with fluoxetine, the other with paroxetine alone or combined with pindolol. The model was applied to the simulation of paroxetine response (clinical score) time course with or without pindolol, after administration of different doses of each drug. The simulated total scores on the MADR scale obtained after treatment with paroxetine alone (20 mg/day) or paroxetine (20 mg/day) with different doses of pindolol (1.5, 7.5 and 37.5 mg/day) support that the reason for inconstant pindolol efficacy is that the 7.5 mg dose is too low. The model might be useful as a basis for clinical trial simulation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation / pharmacokinetics
  • Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation / therapeutic use
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Depression / drug therapy*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Interactions
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Humans
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Nonlinear Dynamics
  • Paroxetine / pharmacokinetics
  • Paroxetine / therapeutic use*
  • Pindolol / pharmacokinetics
  • Pindolol / therapeutic use*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Serotonin Antagonists / pharmacokinetics
  • Serotonin Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors / pharmacokinetics
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation
  • Serotonin Antagonists
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors
  • Paroxetine
  • Pindolol