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Desvenlafaxine succinate (DVS; Pristiq) is a new antidepressant, serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor. Antidepressants have been widely used for the treatment of functional gastrointestinal disorders. Possible roles of DVS on gastrointestinal motility have not been studied. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of DVS on gastric slow waves (GSW), antral contractions, and gastric accommodation in dogs. Fifteen healthy dogs implanted with gastric serosal electrodes and a gastric cannula were studied in four separate sessions: control, DVS (50 mg), propranolol (1 mg·kg(-1)·h(-1)), and propranolol + DVS. GSW were measured via the gastric serosal electrodes. Antral contractions were assessed via an intraluminal manometric catheter inserted via the gastric cannula. The sympathovagal activity was assessed from the spectral analysis of the heart rate variability signal. Gastric tone was measured by barostat via an intragastric balloon inserted into the fundus via the gastric cannula. In the postprandial period, in comparison with the control, DVS reduced the percentage of normal GSW (P=0.001) and increased the percentage of tachygastria (P=0.005) and bradygastria (P=0.002). Simultaneously, DVS increased the sympathetic activity (P=0.006) and the sympathovagal ratio (low frequency/high frequency; P=0.044). These effects were blocked by propranolol. DVS attenuated postprandial antral contractions and gastric accommodation. The postprandial antral contractile index (area under the curve) was decreased by 26% with DVS (P=0.013), and gastric accommodation was decreased by about 50% with DVS (P < 0.001). The inhibitory effect of DVS on gastric accommodation was blocked by propranolol. DVS inhibits gastric contractions, slow waves, and accommodation in the fed state. These inhibitory effects are associated with an increased sympathetic modulation in the gastrointestinal system. Cautions should be made when DVS is used for treating patients with depression and gastric motility disorders.


Fei Dai, Yong Lei, Jiande D Z Chen. Inhibitory effects of desvenlafaxine on gastric slow waves, antral contractions, and gastric accommodation mediated via the sympathetic mechanism in dogs. American journal of physiology. Gastrointestinal and liver physiology. 2011 Oct;301(4):G707-12

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PMID: 21757637

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