Fluvoxamine treatment of alcoholic amnestic disorder

Peter R. Martin, Bryon Adinoff, Elizabeth Lane, June M. Stapleton, George A H Bone, Herbert Weingartner, Markku Linnoila, Michael J. Eckardt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


The serotonin uptake inhibitor fluvoxamine was assessed in treatment of alcohol-induced Korsakoff's syndrome (KS) using fixed (4 weeks, 200 mg/day) or individualized (6 weeks, plasma concentration ≥400 ng/ml) dosing in randomized placebocontrolled double-blind crossover studies. Cognitive functions and concentrations of the major cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) metabolites of serotonin (5-HIAA), norepinephrine (MHPG), and dopamine (HVA) were determined in abstinent, nondepressed KS patients (aged 45-75), at baseline and placebo (3-4 weeks), and after 3-4 (n = 10) or 6 (n = 4) weeks of fluvoxamine administration. Fluvoxamine decreased CSF 5-HIAA compared to placebo (P < 0.003) without consistent changes in HVA or MHPG. Reductions in 5-HIAA correlated with improvements on the Wechsler Memory Scale Memory Quotient (P < 0.05), independent of effects on attention/vigilance or Beck Depression Inventory scores. Reductions in 5-HIAA correlated with plasma fluvoxamine (P < 0.03) only for fluvoxamine concentrations below 450 ng/ml. These findings suggest improvement of memory consolidation and/or retrieval in patients with Korsakoff's syndrome by fluvoxamine via serotonergic mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-33
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Neuropsychopharmacology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1995


  • Fluvoxamine
  • Korsakoff's syndrom
  • Memory
  • Serotonin
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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