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We studied the effect of repeated treatment with selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) on the sensitivity of brain 5-HT(2C) receptors, by measuring the decrease in slow wave sleep (SWS) that follows administration of meta-chlorophenylpiperazine (mCPP) (7.5 mg orally). mCPP significantly lowered SWS both in patients taking SSRIs and in a group of healthy controls. There was, however, no difference in the response between the two groups. The results do not support the suggestion that repeated SSRI treatment alters the sensitivity of 5-HT(2C) receptors in the human brain. The present study, however, cannot exclude the possibility that a decrease in 5-HT(2C) receptor sensitivity was offset by higher plasma levels of mCPP in the SSRI-treated group.

Original publication




Journal article


J Psychopharmacol

Publication Date





168 - 170