Tianeptine. A review of its pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic properties, and therapeutic efficacy in depression and coexisting anxiety and depression
by
Wilde MI; Benfield P
Adis International Limited,
Auckland, New Zealand
Drugs, 1995 Mar, 49:3, 411-39


ABSTRACT

Tianeptine is a novel antidepressant agent, both structurally (modified tricyclic) and in terms of its pharmacodynamic profile. Unlike other antidepressant agents, tianeptine stimulates the uptake of serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine; 5-HT) in rat brain synaptosomes and rat and human platelets, increases 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA) levels in cerebral tissue and plasma, and reduces serotonergic-induced behaviour. Tianeptine reduces the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal response to stress, antagonises stress-induced behavioural deficits and prevents changes in cerebral morphology. The antidepressant efficacy of tianeptine, as shown in 2 trials of patients with major depression or depressed bipolar disorder with or without melancholia, is greater than that of placebo. In patients with major depression without melancholia or psychotic features, depressed bipolar disorder or dysthymic disorder, the antidepressant efficacy of short term (4 weeks to 3 months) tianeptine therapy appears to be similar to that of amitriptyline, imipramine and fluoxetine and may be superior to that of maprotiline in patients with coexisting depression and anxiety. However, submaximal dosages of amitriptyline and maprotiline were used in these studies. Preliminary evidence suggests that tianeptine may also be effective in patients with endogenous depression. Progressive therapeutic improvements have been observed with up to 1 year of tianeptine treatment, and long term therapy may reduce the rate of relapse or recurrence. Tianeptine is effective in the treatment of depression in elderly and post-alcohol-withdrawal patient subgroups. Tianeptine was more effective in reducing psychic anxiety than placebo in patients with major depression or depressed bipolar disorder with or without melancholia. The overall anxiolytic properties of tianeptine in patients with coexisting depression and anxiety appear to be similar to those of amitriptyline, imipramine and fluoxetine and may be superior to those of maprotiline, although submaximal dosages of amitriptyline and maprotiline were used. Studies of tianeptine in patients with primary anxiety have not been conducted. Tianeptine is well tolerated in the short (3 months) and long (up to 1 year) term. The incidence of dry mouth (38 vs 20%), constipation (19 vs 15%), dizziness/syncope (23 vs 13%), drowsiness (17 vs 10%) and postural hypotension (8 vs 3%) are greater with amitriptyline than with tianeptine. Insomnia and nightmares occur in more tianeptine than amitriptyline recipients (20 vs 7%). The relative lack of sedative, anticholinergic and cardiovascular adverse effects with tianeptine makes it particularly suitable for use in the elderly and in patients following alcohol withdrawal; these patients are known to have increased sensitivity to the adverse effects associated with psychotropic drugs.
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