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The effects of six-day SSRI administration on diurnal cortisol secretion in healthy volunteers

Ronaldson, A; Carvalho, LA; Kostich, K; Lazzarino, AI; Urbanova, L; Steptoe, A; (2018) The effects of six-day SSRI administration on diurnal cortisol secretion in healthy volunteers. Psychopharmacology , 235 (12) pp. 3415-3422. 10.1007/s00213-018-5050-1. Green open access

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Abstract

RATIONALE: Hyperactivity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis has been widely reported in depression, and evidence suggests that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) might exert their therapeutic effects through altering cortisol secretion. OBJECTIVE: This study assessed the effects of SSRI administration on diurnal cortisol secretion in healthy volunteers. METHODS: Sixty-four healthy men and women were randomised to receive either 10 mg escitalopram or placebo for six days in a double-blind fashion. On day six of medication, saliva samples were obtained at home for measurement of diurnal cortisol parameters (cortisol slope, cortisol awakening response, total daily cortisol output). RESULTS: Women receiving escitalopram had significantly steeper cortisol slopes across the day compared with those receiving placebo (F(1, 36) = 7.54, p = 0.009). This alteration in cortisol slope was driven by increases in waking cortisol levels (F(1, 35) = 9.21, p = 0.005). Escitalopram did not have any significant effect on the cortisol awakening response or the total daily cortisol output. CONCLUSIONS: Flattened cortisol slopes have been seen in depression. The results of this study suggest that escitalopram might exert its therapeutic effect in women in part through correction of a flattened diurnal cortisol rhythm.

Type: Article
Title: The effects of six-day SSRI administration on diurnal cortisol secretion in healthy volunteers
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s00213-018-5050-1
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00213-018-5050-1
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/ licenses/by/4.0/.
Keywords: Antidepressants, Cortisol, Depression, Escitalopram, HPA axis, SSRIs
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Behavioural Science and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Epidemiology and Public Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10058254
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