Paroxetine treatment improves motor symptoms in patients with multiple system atrophy

Elisabeth Friess, Tania Kuempfel, Sieglinde Modell, Juliane Winkelmann, Florian Holsboer, Marcus Ising, Claudia Trenkwalder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Purpose: In view of the putative role of serotonergic neurotransmission in basal ganglia circuitry we investigated the effects of paroxetine (PXT) as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) on the motor performance in n=19 patients clinically diagnosed as MSA using a double-blind placebo-controlled randomized study design. In addition, we assessed the effects on the psychopathological status of the patients. Results: The short-term add-on treatment with PXT up to 30 mg tid for two weeks resulted in a significant improvement of the motor abilities of the upper limbs and speech when compared to placebo. The treatment with PXT was generally well tolerated. The degree of depressive symptoms was not significantly influenced by PXT or placebo during the observation period. Conclusions: Previous observations suggest that serotonergic projections may modulate the neuronal excitability of the mesolimbic system and cerebellar system. The observed effects of PXT on motor performance may therefore be due to a direct action of the drug on the motor system. However, these results should be regarded as preliminary, and further research is suggested to evaluate the long-term outcome and clinical relevance of SSRI co-medication in MSA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)432-437
Number of pages6
JournalParkinsonism and Related Disorders
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Motor system
  • Multiple system atrophy
  • Paroxetine
  • Speech
  • Treatment


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