European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology

, Volume 37, Issue 2, pp 145–150 | Cite as

Modulation of sleep by trimipramine in man

  • A. N. Nicholson
  • P. A. Pascoe
  • C. Turner


We have studied the acute effect of trimipramine (25, 50 and 75 mg) on nocturnal sleep in 6 young men. Fluoxetine (60 mg) and diazepam (10 mg) were included as controls for the potential changes in sleep measures.

Trimipramine reduced awake activity, Stage 1 (drowsy) sleep, and the duration of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Non-REM (Stage 2) sleep was increased. Residual effects of trimipramine were present the next morning (9 h after ingestion) with impaired coding ability.

The effects of trimipramine on sleep and daytime alterness are consistent with its complex pharmacological profile. Reduced wakefulness and sedation are most likely due to synergism between histamine H1,a1-adrenoceptor, and dopamine receptor antagonism. Anticholinergic activity and possibly blockade ofa1-adrenoceptors would disturb the balance of transmitter activities which facilitates the optimal appearance of REM sleep. In this way the effects of trimipramine on nocturnal wakefulness and REM sleep are similar to drugs which inhibit the uptake of noradrenaline.

Key words

trimipramine sleep change in sleep measures 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. N. Nicholson
    • 1
  • P. A. Pascoe
    • 1
  • C. Turner
    • 1
  1. 1.Royal Air Force Institute of Aviation Medicine FarnboroughHampshireUK

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