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Antidepressant Use Does Not Improve Overall Symptoms From Stomach Disorder

Update Date: Dec 25, 2013 11:16 AM EST

Use of antidepressant nortriptyline compared to placebo for 15 weeks among idiopathic gastroparesis patients did not result in improvement in overall symptoms, according to a new study.

Gastroparesis is such a disease in which muscles of the stomach or the nerves controlling the muscles stop working. This condition, subsequently can lead to inadequate grinding of food by stomach and hence poor emptying of food from stomach to intestine.

Not many effective treatments are available for gastroparesis and hence the disease remains a challenging syndrome to manage. One of the possible approaches to treat gastroparesis is based on the hypothesis that few symptoms like nausea, pain arise due to changes in the certain nerves and Tricyclic antidepressants are prescribed in such circumstances.

Researchers took 130 patients into consideration and randomized them with idiopathic gastroparesis to nortriptyline (n = 65) or placebo (n = 65). This helped in determining whether treatment with the tricyclic antidepressant nortriptyline would lead to some improvement or it was still ineffective.

The primary outcome o the study showed that there was a decrease in the patient’s Gastroparesis Cardinal Symptom Index (GCSI) score of at least 50 percent on 2 consecutive visits during 15 weeks of treatment.

Our results raise general doubts about the utility of tricyclic antidepressants in low doses as a strategy for the treatment of idiopathic gastroparesis," wrote authors in the paper.

The study appears in December 25 issue of JAMA.

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