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Norepinephrine Metabolism and Drugs Used in the Affective Disorders: A Possible Mechanism of Action
JOSEPH J. SCHILDKRAUT; SAUL M. SCHANBERG; GEORGE R. BREESE; IRWIN J. KOPIN
Am J Psychiatry 1967;124:600-608.
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Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, and Senior Psychiatrist, Massachusetts Mental Health Center, 74 Fenwood Road, Boston, Mass. 02115

Assistant Professor of Clinical Pharmacology and Neurology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, N. C.

Laboratory of Clinical Science, National Institute of Mental Health

1967-68, American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

A fairly consistent relationship has been observed between the effects of drugs on norepinephrine metabolism in animals and the known effects of these drugs on mood in man. Data are presented suggesting that stimulants or antidepressants may increase norepinephrine at adrenergic receptors in brain whereas lithium salts, which are effective in the treatment of manic and hypomanic states, may decrease norepinephrine at receptor sites. These findings are compatible with the hypothesis that some, if not all, depressions may be associated with a relative deficiency of norepinephrine at receptor sites in the brain while elations may be associated with an excess of this amine.

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