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Review
, 25 (3), 193-200

Cognition and Depression: The Effects of Fluvoxamine, a sigma-1 Receptor Agonist, Reconsidered

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Review

Cognition and Depression: The Effects of Fluvoxamine, a sigma-1 Receptor Agonist, Reconsidered

Ian Hindmarch et al. Hum Psychopharmacol.

Abstract

Cognitive impairment is a primary feature of patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) and is characterised by stress-induced neural atrophy. Via alpha-adrenergic, anti-cholinergic and anti-histaminic activities, several antidepressants can cause significant counter-therapeutic cognitive impairment. Evidence is emerging of the involvement of sigma-1 receptor agonism in the mechanism of action of some antidepressants, notably fluvoxamine. Sigma-1 receptors are abundant in areas affected by depression/stress-induced cerebral atrophy and their ligands have a unique pharmacological profile; they may promote neurogenesis and initiate adaptive neural plasticity as a protection/reaction to stress. Fluvoxamine, as a potent sigma-1 receptor agonist, has shown ameliorating effects in animal models of psychosis, depression, stress, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and aggression and has been shown to improve cognitive impairments. In humans, fluvoxamine may repair central nervous system (CNS) atrophy and restore cognitive function. The current review explores the mechanisms through which sigma-1 receptors can modulate cognitive function and examines how antidepressant therapy with fluvoxamine may help improve cognitive outcomes in patients with depression.

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