: We investigated the effect of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) citalopram after 6-8 weeks and 6 months of treatment on clinical and peripheral indexes for central serotonergic function: platelet [14C]serotonin uptake and [3H]paroxetine- and [3H]LSD-binding to platelets membranes in 33 patients with panic disorder. Basal data from patients were compared with data from a control material consisting of 33 healthy volunteers. Bmax for platelet [3H]paroxetine binding was significantly lower in patients than in controls. There were no differences in serotonin uptake or [3H]LSD-binding between patients and controls. The degree of anxiety and depression was assessed using the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI) and Beck Depression Inventory self-assessment scales, and the Clinical Anxiety Scale and the Montgomery Asberg Depression Rating Scale for clinical evaluation. Complete remission was found in one third of the patients after 6-8 weeks and in two-thirds after 6 months of treatment. The reduction in assessment scores was parallelled with similar reductions in platelet 5-HT2-receptor density, [3H]LSD affinity variable (Kd) and Vmax for platelet [14C]5-HT uptake. Citalopram treatment did not alter Bmax and Kd for platelet [3H]paroxetine-binding. A positive correlation was found between Vmax for the platelet [14C]5-HT uptake and BAI after 6 months citalopram treatment. The present study shows that citalopram has a therapeutic effect in panic disorders. A prerequisite of responding to treatment might be plasticity in the serotonergic system.
(C) 2000 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.