Tricyclic antidepressants: therapeutic properties and affinity for alpha-noradrenergic receptor binding sites in the brain

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Science  13 Jan 1978:
Vol. 199, Issue 4325, pp. 197-198
DOI: 10.1126/science.202024


Tricyclic antidepressants vary in their capacity to cause psychomotor activation, to relieve agitated depressive states, and to cause sedation and hypotension. We have quantified relative potencies of tricyclic antidepressants in competing for the binding of 3H-labeled WB-4101 to alpha-noradrenergic receptor sites in rat brain membranes. Affinities of tricyclic drugs for alpha-noradrenergic receptor sites in the brain correlate well with the capacity of these agents to relieve psychomotor agitation and to induce sedation and hypotension; these affinities also correlate inversely with tendencies to elicit psychomotor activation.