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May 1979

TRH (Protirelin) in Depressed Alcoholic Men: Behavioral Changes and Endocrine Responses

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, Division of Health Affairs, School of Medicine, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; and the Division of Research and Dorothea Dix Hospital, North Carolina Division of Mental Health Services, Raleigh.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1979;36(5):540-547. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1979.01780050050005

• Chronic alcoholics with secondary depression were treated with protirelin in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Behavioral data, collected only during the acute alcohol withdrawal state, indicated a beneficial effect of protirelin three hours after injection, but not during subsequent days. Injections caused only mild and infrequent subjective side effects and no cardiovascular effects. Endocrine data were recorded in the acute withdrawal state and after clinical remission. Findings in the acute state suggested thyroid activation and increased central dopaminergic activity, as evidenced by elevated baseline levels of growth hormone, low baseline levels of prolactin, and blunted thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) response to protirelin. The first two abnormalities returned to normal levels in the remission state. A blunted TSH response was observed in both the acute and the remission states. Partial persistence of this finding suggests that TSH blunting may not be solely statedependent. In the acute withdrawal state, TSH blunting was associated with favorable behavioral responses to protirelin.

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