Thyroid-Imipramine Interaction: Clinical Results and Basic Mechanism

  • Arthur J. PrangeJr.
  • Ian C. Wilson
  • Angelina E. Knox
  • Thomas K. McClane
  • George R. Breese
  • Billy R. Martin
  • Lacoe B. Alltop
  • Morris A. Lipton
Part of the Advances in Behavioral Biology book series (ABBI, volume 1)


In recent years, our group has drawn attention to a new phenomenon that can be described quite simply. Patients with primary depression recover more quickly if, to a usual regimen of imipramine, one adds a small dose of thyroid hormone, L-triiodothyronine (T3) (Prange et al. 1968; Prange et al. 1969; Wilson et al. 1970; Prange et al. 1970). Since then we have worked in two directions in both our clinic and our laboratory. We have explored the clinical dimensions of our finding and have tried simultaneously to elucidate the mechanisms that underlie it. This paper will outline the phenomenon briefly and then discuss one of our attempts to understand it. In another paper (Prange, Wilson, and Lipton, in preparation) we shall publish data that verify the following qualifications:
  1. 1.

    When imipramine alone is given, men respond much faster than women.

  2. 2.

    When T3 is added to imipramine, women benefit enormously and men benefit little, if at all.

  3. 3.

    Whether patients are retarded or agitated has no influence on the T3 phenomenon, though it has some influence on basic response to imipramine.



Thyroid Hormone Normal Woman Placebo Patient Depressed Woman Vanillylmandelic Acid 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1971

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arthur J. PrangeJr.
    • 1
  • Ian C. Wilson
    • 2
  • Angelina E. Knox
    • 3
  • Thomas K. McClane
    • 4
  • George R. Breese
    • 1
  • Billy R. Martin
    • 1
  • Lacoe B. Alltop
    • 2
  • Morris A. Lipton
    • 1
  1. 1.University of North Carolina School of MedicineChapel HillUSA
  2. 2.North Carolina Department of Mental HealthChapel HillUSA
  3. 3.Dorothea Dix HospitalReleighUSA
  4. 4.LakelandUSA

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