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September 1979

Novel Antidepressants and the Biogenic Amine Hypothesis of Depression: The Case for Iprindole and Mianserin

Author Affiliations

From the Clinical Psychobiology Branch, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Md.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1979;36(10):1097-1107. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1979.01780100067006

• The introduction of two tricyclic compounds (iprindole and mianserin) that are reported to have antidepressant properties but to be relatively devoid of effects on central amine neurotransmitter systems has raised questions about the amine hypothesis of depression and about the mechanism of action of tricyclics in general. In view of the importance of these questions, a critical review of both the clinical and pharmacological profiles of iprindole and mianserin was undertaken. Iprindole is a relatively weak inhibitor of both norepinephrine (NE) and serotonin, whereas mianserin possesses at least modest potency as an inhibitor of NE uptake. However, the evidence is as yet insufficient to prove the superiority of iprindole over placebo in the treatment of those depressions characterized by endogenous symptoms. In considering the pharmacological profiles of these two drugs together with their clinical profiles, the data are not inconsistent with the hypothesized role of biogenic amines in major depression.

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