The antiplatelet effect of mirtazapine is mediated by co-blocking 5-HT2A and α2-adrenergic receptors on platelets: An in vitro human plasma-based study

Eur J Pharmacol. 2022 Feb 15:917:174640. doi: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2021.174640. Epub 2021 Nov 21.


Mirtazapine (MTZ) is a noradrenergic and specific serotonergic antidepressant that has been associated with an increased risk of bleeding. However, there is insufficient evidence confirming this association. We hypothesised that 5-HT2A and α2 receptor-mediated inhibitory effects of MTZ on platelets suppress platelet aggregation and increase the risk of bleeding. In this study, we examined the antiplatelet effect of MTZ on human platelets to test our hypothesis. Blood samples for platelet aggregation tests were obtained from 14 healthy volunteers. The antiplatelet effect of MTZ was evaluated using light transmission aggregometry. MTZ significantly suppressed platelet aggregation mediated both by the synergistic interaction of serotonin (5-HT) and adrenaline and the synergistic interaction of ADP and 5-HT or adrenaline. In conclusion, MTZ exerts its antiplatelet effects by co-blocking the 5-HT2A and α2-adrenergic receptors on platelets and also suppresses platelet aggregation induced by ADP and 5-HT or adrenaline. Therefore, when MTZ is used, especially for patients with a high risk of bleeding, the significance of its use must be considered carefully. In addition, the platelet aggregation pattern by adrenaline + 5-HT, ADP + adrenaline, and ADP + 5-HT was similar between humans and mice; however, this study did not directly compare the effects of MTZ on human and murine platelets. Therefore, under the conditions for inducing platelet aggregation using adrenaline + 5-HT, ADP + adrenaline, and ADP + 5-HT, mouse platelets can be used in the evaluation of the efficacy of antiplatelet drugs in humans.

Keywords: 5-Hydroxytryptamine 2A (5-HT(2A)) receptor; Antiplatelet effect; Bleeding risk; Mirtazapine; α(2)-adrenergic receptor.

MeSH terms

  • Blood Platelets*