Frédéric Sériès, MD; Yvon Cormier, MD
Objective: To determine the effects of a nonsedating tricyclic antidepressant (protriptyline) on pulmonary function (lung volume, expiratory flow), arterial blood gases, sleep architecture, and sleep-induced breathing abnormalities in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Design: A before-and-after trial in which patients, blinded to treatment, were given a placebo for 2 weeks, followed by 2 and 10 weeks of protriptyline treatment.
Setting: Referral-based pulmonology clinic in a public institution.
Patients: Sixteen outpatients were enrolled in the trial. Complete results for 11 patients and partial results for 3 patients are presented.
Interventions: Patients were evaluated at baseline, after receiving placebo for 2 weeks, and after 2 and 10 weeks of protriptyline therapy (20 mg/d, taken at bedtime).
Measurements and Main Results: At baseline, for the whole group, forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) was 1.0 ±0.08 L (mean ±SE); the partial pressure of O2 in arterial blood (PaO2) was 59 ±1.2 mm Hg; and the partial pressure of CO2 in arterial blood (Paco2) was 48.9 ±1.2 mm Hg. These variables remained stable after placebo. Pulmonary function test results were unchanged with protriptyline therapy. Arterial blood gas levels improved with such therapy: PaO2 levels increased by 5.1 ±1.4 mm Hg after 2 weeks and 6.7 ±2.4 mm Hg after 10 weeks (P < 0.01); PaCO2 levels decreased by 4.2 ±0.9 mm Hg after 2 weeks and 2.2 ±1.1 mm Hg after 10 weeks (P < 0.01). Total sleep times were similar at these visits. The only change in sleep architecture was a significant decrease in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. The lowest value for the saturation of hemoglobin with O2 in arterial blood (SaO2) seen during sleep was 72.0% ±2.0% at baseline. After 2 and 10 weeks of protriptyline therapy, SaO2 values increased by 7.1% ±1.6% and 5.0% ±2.1%, respectively (P < 0.01). With protriptyline therapy, the cumulative SaO2 curve, derived from data obtained during sleep, shifted down and to the right.
Conclusions: Protriptyline improves diurnal and nocturnal hypoxemia in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. These changes are not related to changes in pulmonary mechanics.
Sériès F, Cormier Y. Effects of Protriptyline on Diurnal and Nocturnal Oxygenation in Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Ann Intern Med. ;113:507–511. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-113-7-507
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1990;113(7):507-511.
Chronic Obstructive Airway Disease, Pulmonary/Critical Care.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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