L-5-hydroxytryptophan alone and in combination with a peripheral decarboxylase inhibitor in the treatment of depression

Neuropsychobiology. 1988;20(1):28-35. doi: 10.1159/000118469.


In an open study 25 depressed patients were treated with L-5-hydroxytryptophan (L-5-HTP) either alone or in combination with a peripheral decarboxylase inhibitor. The therapeutic efficacy of L-5-HTP was considered as equal to that of traditional antidepressants. There was no difference in efficacy between the two treatments. Best results were obtained in patients with an anxious-agitated depressive syndrome and in patients with an endogenous depression if the illness had been acute. The onset of action was rapid (within 3 or 5 days). Gastrointestinal side effects proved to be dose-dependent and occurred more frequently in patients receiving L-5-HTP alone, whereas psychopathological side effects (especially acute anxiety states) have mainly been reported in patients receiving L-5-HTP in combination with a peripheral decarboxylase inhibitor.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • 5-Hydroxytryptophan / administration & dosage*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Benserazide / administration & dosage*
  • Bipolar Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Bipolar Disorder / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Combinations / administration & dosage
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrazines / administration & dosage*
  • Levodopa / administration & dosage*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychological Tests
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Drug Combinations
  • Hydrazines
  • benserazide, levodopa drug combination
  • Levodopa
  • Benserazide
  • 5-Hydroxytryptophan