Study of the effect of nortriptyline and fluvoxamine on psychomotor functions in healthy volunteers

Indian J Psychol Med. 2010 Jul;32(2):104-7. doi: 10.4103/0253-7176.78506.


Background: Today, many antidepressants are available, but they often cause adverse effects, particularly psychomotor and cognitive. It leads to patient maladjustment and may impair psychomotor performance. Fluvoxamine is a newer antidepressant and hence the present study was planned to investigate its effect on psychomotor functions and compare with nortriptyline and record their adverse reactions.

Materials and methods: A total of 26 healthy volunteers were included in this double-blind, placebocontrolled, crossover study. Single oral doses of fluvoxamine 50 mg, nortriptyline 50 mg and placebo were administered following a Latin square design. The objective parameters-six digit cancellation test, digit symbol substitution test, critical flicker fusion test, arithmetic ability test, hand steadiness test and subjective parameters such as visual analogue scale 1, 2, 3 were tested at 0, 2 and 4 h. The side-effects were also investigated.

Results: Nortriptyline impaired all subjective and objective psychomotor functions while fluvoxamine did not show any significant effect on objective tests. However, on subjective parameters, there was a significant effect. The side-effects observed were dryness of mouthwith the nortriptyline and nausea and headache with fluvoxamine.

Conclusion: Fluvoxamine is a better antidepressant drug in comparison with nortriptyline as it causes a less impairment of psychomotor functions.

Keywords: Fluvoxamine; nortriptyline; psychomotor function.