Objective: Several studies have suggested the efficacy of bupropion and escitalopram on reducing the excessive internet game play. We hypothesized that both bupropion and escitalopram would be effective on reducing the severity of depressive symptoms and internet gaming disorder (IGD) symptoms in patients with both major depressive disorder and IGD. However, the changes in brain connectivity between the default mode network (DMN) and the salience network were different between bupropion and escitalopram due to their different pharmacodynamics.
Methods: This study was designed as a 12-week double blind prospective trial. Thirty patients were recruited for this research (15 bupropion group+15 escitalopram group). To assess the differential functional connectivity (FC) between the hubs of the DMN and the salience network, we selected 12 regions from the automated anatomical labeling in PickAtals software.
Results: After drug treatment, the depressive symptoms and IGD symptoms in both groups were improved. Impulsivity and attentional symptoms in the bupropion group were significantly decreased, compared to the escitalopram group. After treatment, FC within only the DMN in escitalopram decreased while FC between DMN and salience network in bupropion group decreased. Bupropion was associated with significantly decreased FC within the salience network and between the salience network and the DMN, compared to escitalopram.
Conclusion: Bupropion showed greater effects than escitalopram on reducing impulsivity and attentional symptoms. Decreased brain connectivity between the salience network and the DMN appears to be associated with improved excessive IGD symptoms and impulsivity in MDD patients with IGD.
Keywords: Bupropion; Citalopram; Functional magnetic resonance imaging.; Internet; Major depressive disorder; video games.