Alterations in responses to LSD in humans associated with chronic administration of tricyclic antidepressants, monoamine oxidase inhibitors or lithium

Behav Brain Res. 1996;73(1-2):229-33. doi: 10.1016/0166-4328(96)00102-7.


This study sought to investigate possible interactions between antidepressant agents and lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) in humans through the use of retrospective questionnaires. Ten subjects were identified who used LSD during chronic (3 weeks or longer) periods of antidepressant administration. These subjects were asked to describe the phenomenological effects of self-administered hallucinogens prior to and during antidepressant treatment; a structured, standardized questionnaire was used to evaluate LSD experiences. Chronic tricyclic antidepressant administration was associated with subjective increases in physical, hallucinatory and psychological responses to LSD. Similarly, subjects receiving lithium chronically also reported increases in their responses to LSD. In contrast, subjects who had been chronically taking an monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor reported subjective decreases in the effects of LSD. This is similar to a previous report by our group of a decreased response to LSD in individuals who were chronically taking serotonin-selective antidepressants. These altered responses to LSD most likely involve differential changes in central serotonin and dopamine receptor systems and are consistent with other recent data suggesting that the clinical efficacy of different classes of antidepressants may not necessarily rely on a common mechanism of action in the brain.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antidepressive Agents, Tricyclic / pharmacology*
  • Drug Interactions
  • Female
  • Hallucinogens / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Lithium / pharmacology*
  • Lysergic Acid Diethylamide / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Antidepressive Agents, Tricyclic
  • Hallucinogens
  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors
  • Lysergic Acid Diethylamide
  • Lithium