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February 1988

Bupropion in DepressionI. Biochemical Effects and Clinical Response

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1988;45(2):139-143. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1988.01800260047006

• We studied the biochemical effects of bupropion hydrochloride, a unicyclic antidepressant, in 11 depressed patients. Plasma homovanillic acid level increased significantly in patients who had poor responses to treatment but not in patients who obtained good clinical responses. Although bupropion is characterized preclinically as a weak dopamine reuptake inhibitor without appreciable effects on norepinephrine (NE) reuptake, it reduced whole-body NE turnover without altering plasma NE levels at rest and following orthostatic challenge. There was a trend toward a reduction in cerebrospinal fluid 3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenylglycol and homovanillic acid concentrations following bupropion treatment, although these changes did not achieve statistical significance. Reduction in whole-body NE turnover has now been described for six disparate antidepressant treatments. Poor clinical outcome following treatment with bupropion may be related to perturbations in dopaminergic systems.