Polygraphically Measured Effects of Different Antidepressants

  • U. J. Jovanović


During the last 15 years more than 100 pharmaceutical compounds have been examined by means of polygraphic recordings, clinical investigations and psychometric tests. Results of the investigations of four antidepressants are presented in detail in this paper. Results with two additional antidepressants are also presented, though in less detail, for comparison.

Twenty patients suffering from endogenous depression (between 25 and 39 years of age, mean 26.7 years, of both sexes: male 9 and female 11 patients) were examined for a total of 5 weeks each. The effects of maprotiline were compared to those of imipramine (both substances in a dosage of 3 x 50 mg a day). Amitriptyline-N-oxide was tested in 15 patients suffering from endogenous depression (24 to 34 years of age, mean 28.5 years). The dosage used was 3 x 20 mg daily. Methylperon was examined in a different way (two series with a dosage of 20 mg and 50 mg, 20 healthy volunteers and 20 depressive patients). The following results were obtained: (1) The substances investigated had different effects on sleep in endogenous depressive patients. (2) In the first week of therapy imipramine caused a prolongation of nocturnal wakefulness. This could also be observed in the third week of treatment. These effects were not found in maprotiline and amitriptyline-N-oxide (ANO). (3) Relative and actual sleep durations were reduced by the increase of wakefulness during the night under the effects of Imipramine and chlorimipramine in the first week of therapy. There were no important differences concerning the effects of imipramine after the first week of therapy compared to the third week of therapy with the same substance. These effects were not observed when maprotiline or ANO was administered. (4) Duration of wakefulness shifted from the first to the last third of the night after administration of imipramine, which was not the case after maprotiline and ANO. (5) The ultradian sleep periods (PC) changed in patients under the effects of imipramine and chlorimipramine, especially in the first PC. (6) In the first and third weeks of therapy imipramine and chlorimipramine (chloramine) caused a reduction of REM phases in patients; this reduction was either not found at all with maprotiline or it was very small compared to that with imipramine. ANO caused no REM suppression. (7) Further, imipramine had a stronger influence on the duration of sleep stages within the sleep periods in the first and third weeks of therapy compared to the other substances. Wakefulness and the superficial sleep (Stage II) were much longer in the first PC under the effects of imipramine and chlopramine. (8) An assimilation of the effects of the substances investigated was found only in the morning sleep hours. (9) After the fourth week of therapy, the effects of imipramine, maprotiline and chloramine were similar. In the fifth week of therapy there were no differences in the effects of the four substances examined. (10) According to the findings obtained by polygraphic sleep recordings and by clinical examinations, imipramine and chlopramine had stronger effects on the depressive symptoms already in the first and especially in the second week of therapy compared with ANO. These effects assimilated at the end of the fourth week of therapy. (11) According to these investigations, amitriptyline-N-oxide and maprotiline are antidepressants; however, they have stronger relaxing effects than imipramine. On the other hand, imipramine has stronger antidepressive effects, but in the first three weeks of therapy, nocturnal wakefulness is prolonged, sleep becomes more superficial, latency times up to the first REM phase are increased and REM phases are suppressed more strongly than after administration of maprotiline. (12) Methylperon effected a prolongation of the REM phases.


Sleep Stage Deep Sleep Nocturnal Wakefulness Investigation Phase Polygraphic Recording 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • U. J. Jovanović
    • 1
  1. 1.Psychiatric ClinicUniversity of WürzburgWürzburgW. Germany

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