Prolactin response to d-fenfluramine in obsessive-compulsive patients, and outcome of fluvoxamine treatment

Br J Psychiatry. 1997 Jun:170:554-7. doi: 10.1192/bjp.170.6.554.


Background: Although several studies have directly explored serotonin (5-HT) transmission in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), their results have been inconsistent and their clinical relevance is doubtful.

Method: According to a double-blind placebo-controlled design, plasma prolactin (PRL) response to a specific serotonergic probe, d-fenfluramine, was measured in 20 drug-free obsessive-compulsive patients and in 20 matched healthy controls. After the neuroendocrine test, 15 patients completed a 10-week treatment with fluvoxamine. Psychopathological assessment was performed before and after therapy.

Results: PRL response in OCD patients was blunted under the drug-free condition; correlated inversely with pretreatment ratings of obsessive-compulsive and depressive symptomatology; and correlated inversely with the improvement in obsessive-compulsive score observed after fluvoxamine treatment.

Conclusions: These results support the idea of a dysfunction of 5-HT transmission in OCD, and suggest that the greater this impairment, the better the response to drugs which selectively block the reuptake of 5-HT.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Fenfluramine / therapeutic use*
  • Fluvoxamine / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / blood
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Prolactin / blood*
  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Biomarkers
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors
  • Fenfluramine
  • Prolactin
  • Fluvoxamine