Serum beta-endorphin level in
patients with depression on fluvoxamine

Djurovic D, Milic-Askrabic J, Majkic-Singh N
Institute of Pharmacy of Serbia,
Belgrade, Yugoslavia.
Farmaco 1999 Mar 31; 54(3): 130-3


The main interest of the present study was to determine possible alternations in beta-endorphin serum levels in healthy volunteers and in patients with depression, as well as changes in beta-endorphin serum levels caused by fluvoxamine treatment. Fluvoxamine maleate (Fevarin) was administered orally at a dose of 200 mg/day for 4 weeks. The serum levels of beta-endorphin were lower in patients with 'nonendogenous' depression (104.68 +/- 5.29 pg/ml) and those with 'endogenous' depression (36.34 +/- 2.23 pg/ml) than in healthy volunteers (125.19 +/- 1.64 pg/ml). The endogenously depressed patients had significantly lower beta-endorphin levels than the nonendogenous patients. A 4-week treatment of fluvoxamine (200 mg/day) caused a statistically significant increase in beta-endorphin serum levels in all patients (nonendogenous depression 132.10 +/- 2.38 pg/ml and endogenous depression 50.09 +/- 2.45 pg/ml) in comparison to values found before the onset of the therapy. The efficacy of fluvoxamine was 11.0 (+/- 9.0) evaluated by the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAMD) in the patients with a diagnosis of depression. These results indicate that determination of beta-endorphin serum levels could be a valuable laboratory test in the diagnosis of depression.
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