Tryptophan in the Treatment of Depression
The reports by Coppen et al. (1963) and by Pare (1963), that tryptophan was capable of potentiating the antidepressant action of monoamine oxidase inhibitors, were followed by the claim of Coppen et al. (1967) that tryptophan, given alone was as effective as electroconvulsive therapy in the treatment of depression. These initial encouraging reports have been followed by more than 20 other papers in the literature, which have reached a wide variety of conclusions on the efficacy of tryptophan as an antidepressant. Even reviews on this subject reveal no consensus (Poitou and Boulu, 1977; Wirz-Justice, 1977; Murphy et al., 1978; Cooper, 1979). The purpose of this paper is to discuss some of the factors that will affect the response of depressed patients to tryptophan, and to suggest how it may be used effectively as an antidepressant.
KeywordsTherapeutic Window Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitor Bipolar Patient Electroconvulsive Therapy Antidepressant Action
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