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Psychopharmacology

, Volume 74, Issue 4, pp 360–364 | Cite as

Cardiovascular effects of imipramine and nortriptyline in elderly patients

  • P. Thayssen
  • M. Bjerre
  • P. Kragh-Sørensen
  • M. Møller
  • O. L. Petersen
  • C. B. Kristensen
  • L. F. Gram
Original Investigations

Abstract

Cardiovascular effects in elderly depressed patients (age 62–78 years) treated with imipramine (N=11) or nortriptyline (N=10) were recorded by monitoring of heart rate, blood pressure, systolic time intervals, standard ECG and 24-h ECG. The two drugs exhibited distinctly different cardiovascular reactions. The use of imipramine was severely limited by orthostatic hypotension occurring at subtherapeutic plasma levels, which resulted in falls with fracture in two patients. In contrast, nortriptyline at therapeutic drug levels did not significantly influence orthostatic blood pressure regulation. Nortriptyline caused moderate changes in systolic time intervals, indicating impairment in myocardial contractility. This effect was not seen with imipramine, but a majority of the patients did not reach therapeutic plasma levels because of the blood pressure reactions. Neither imipramine nor nortriptyline induced changes in cardiac conduction time measurements or arrhythmias. In addition to the blood pressure reactions, the use of imipramine was complicated by dose dependent kinetics.

Key words

Elderly patients Antidepressive treatment Orthostatic blood pressure Systolic time intervals 24-hour ambulatory ECG 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Thayssen
    • 1
  • M. Bjerre
    • 1
  • P. Kragh-Sørensen
    • 1
  • M. Møller
    • 1
  • O. L. Petersen
    • 1
  • C. B. Kristensen
    • 1
  • L. F. Gram
    • 1
  1. 1.Departments of Clinical Physiology and Psychiatry and Clinical PharmacologyOdense University, School of MedicineOdenseDenmark

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