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March 1976

Depressed 5-Hydroxyindole Levels Associated With Hyperactive and Aggressive BehaviorRelationship to Drug Response

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Neurology, University of Maryland Hospital, Baltimore (Dr Greenberg), and the Children's Brain Research Clinic, Washington, DC (Dr Coleman).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1976;33(3):331-336. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1976.01770030045006

• Monitoring of 5-hydroxyindole (5-HI) levels in blood in hyperactive institutionalized mentally retarded patients before and after drug therapy revealed depression of 5-HI levels in 83% of hyperactive patients. In these patients with low serotonin levels, elevation of 5-HI levels in blood into the normal range by administration of a variety of psychoactive agents was associated with the disappearance of the hyperkinetic syndrome. Patients who remained hyperactive continued to have low 5-HI levels. Return of hyperactivity upon withdrawal of medication in patients who were previously well controlled was associated with a fall in 5-HI levels. Adverse responses were seen in these patients when they were treated with medications usually tending to lower 5-HI levels in blood. Medications used in the treatment of hyperactivity may be classified as to whether they usually elevate, lower, or have no significant effect on 5-HI levels in blood.