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Endocrine and behavioural responses to methylphenidate in depression

  • Peter R. Joyce (a1), Richard A. Donald (a1), M. Gary Nicholls (a1), John H. Livesey (a1) and Robyn M. Abbott (a1)...


Twenty patients with a major depressive disorder and 20 control subjects were subjected to a 1 mg dexamethasone suppression test (DST) and a challenge with intravenous (IV) methylphenidate (MP)(0·3 mg/kg). None of the controls, but 9 depressives, were DST non-suppressors. Among the depressives there were correlations between DST-cortisol and baseline (4 p.m.) levels of cortisol, growth hormone, prolactin and adrenaline. Compared with the controls the depressives had a decreased cortisol response and an enhanced adrenaline response to the MP challenge. The decreased cortisol response was not related to either DST-cortisol or baseline cortisol, but was correlated with the mood response to MP.


Corresponding author

1Address for correspondence: Dr P. R. Joyce, Sunnyside Hospital, Christchurch, New Zealand


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