Paroxetine is a novel nitric oxide synthase inhibitor

Psychopharmacol Bull. 1996;32(4):653-8.


The selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, paroxetine, has been reported to inhibit cytochrome P450 activity. Nitric oxide synthase (NOS) is structurally homologous to cytochrome P450. Accordingly, in our study, we observed the effects of paroxetine on NOS activity. Seventeen ischemic heart disease (IHD) patients received paroxetine and fourteen received nortriptyline for treatment of clinical depression defined by a score of 17 or higher on the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D). Serum nitrite and nitrate levels were significantly decreased following paroxetine treatment but not nortriptyline treatment. Paroxetine was also a more potent inhibitor of NOS enzyme activity than nortriptyline, as measured by the conversion of [14C] arginine to [14C] citrulline by hamster brain cytosols. In addition, paroxetine reversed the force-frequency relationship in isolated hamster papillary muscles in a manner analogous to that of known NOS inhibitors. Thus, paroxetine appears to be a novel NOS inhibitor in vitro and in vivo.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cricetinae
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase / drug effects*
  • Papillary Muscles / drug effects*
  • Paroxetine / pharmacology*
  • Serotonin / pharmacology


  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Serotonin
  • Paroxetine
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase