Effect of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor sertraline on gastric sensitivity and compliance in healthy humans1


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    Presented in part in abstract form at Digestive Disease Week, Atlanta, Georgia, May 2001.

Address for correspondence Dr Uri Ladabaum, Division of Gastroenterology, S-357, Box 0538, University of California, San Francisco, 513 Parnassus Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94143–0538, USA. Tel.: + 1 415 514 0591; fax: + 1 415 502 6714; e-mail: ladabau@itsa.ucsf.edu


AbstractVisceral hypersensitivity may contribute to symptoms in functional dyspepsia. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may be beneficial in functional gastrointestinal disorders. The aim of this study was to determine whether the SSRI sertraline affects gastric sensitivity and compliance in healthy humans. Ten healthy humans completed a 6-week randomized, double-blind, crossover trial of sertraline (50 mg day−1) vs. placebo. After each 2-week treatment, fullness, pain and nausea were rated at increasing gastric barostat distending pressures. Sensation thresholds above minimal distending pressure (MDP) were determined with a tracking method. Somatic sensory testing was performed by hand immersion in ice water. No differences were found between sertraline and placebo for symptoms as a function of distending pressure (fullness, P = 0.72; pain, P = 0.79; nausea, P = 0.41), gastric compliance (P = 0.15), median and interquartile range thresholds for first sensation [4.1 (3.5–5.7) vs. 6.2 (3.3–10.0) mmHg above MDP, P = 0.19] and pain [15.2 (8.3–21.0) vs. 15.3 (10.3–19.8) mmHg above MDP, P = 0.85], and median tolerance times for hand ice water immersion [27 (19–99) vs. 29 (20–180) s, P = 0.73]. In conclusion, sertraline had no effect on gastric sensitivity or compliance, or somatic pain tolerance in healthy humans. Studies are needed to assess the effects of SSRIs on visceral sensation and clinical symptoms in patients with functional dyspepsia.