Psychomotor changes in major depressive disorder during sertraline treatment
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Neuropsychobiology. - Basel
, p. 34-42
University of Antwerp
Background: There is a relative scarcity of studies on major depressive disorder that use objective assessment methods to explore the psychomotor effects of antidepressants. Striatal dopaminergic disturbances are known to be involved in the pathogenesis of major depressive disorder that is associated with psychomotor retardation. Because of its additional dopaminergic mechanism, the psychomotor effects of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor sertraline merit further exploration. Methods: In 19 patients diagnosed with a current major depressive episode, clinical variables and graphic motor activity were assessed applying digitized figure copying tasks during a 6-week regimen of sertraline. Patients' baseline and weekly psychomotor performance was compared with the outcomes of 22 healthy, unmedicated controls. Results: Patients' psychomotor slowing had improved after 6 weeks on sertraline as reflected by reductions in initiation and movement times on the simple line and figure copying tasks and decreased initiation times for the complex figure copying task relative to their baseline outcomes. Conclusions: The current study found evidence pointing to potential beneficial effects of sertraline after a 6-week treatment period in the lower-order cognitive and motor components involved in the graphic motor performance of depressed patients. The present findings are discussed in terms of the mechanism of action of sertraline.