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Though selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors have revolutionized the field of psychiatry with demonstrated efficacy in affective and anxiety disorders with minimal side effects, norepinephrine-serotonin reuptake inhibitors may provide efficacy similar to tricyclic antidepressants without the adverse side effects associated with tricyclic antidepressants. The affinity and selectivity of milnacipran, duloxetine, venlafaxine, citalopram, amitriptyline, and nortriptyline were determined for the human serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine transporters. Both milnacipran and duloxetine were potent inhibitors of serotonin and norepinephrine uptake. Unlike duloxetine and venlafaxine, milnacipran appears serotonin transporter selective in binding (ratio = 2.61) and norepinephrine transporter selective in uptake (ratio =.45). Milnacipran's binding and uptake inhibition profile more closely resembles that of the tricyclic antidepressants than that of duloxetine. Whether these differences observed in vitro manifest themselves in vivo is not clear.


S Neil Vaishnavi, Charles B Nemeroff, Susan J Plott, Srinivas G Rao, Jay Kranzler, Michael J Owens. Milnacipran: a comparative analysis of human monoamine uptake and transporter binding affinity. Biological psychiatry. 2004 Feb 1;55(3):320-2

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PMID: 14744476

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