Antipanic efficacy of paroxetine and polymorphism within the promoter of the serotonin transporter gene

Giampaolo Perna, Elisa Favaron, Daniela Di Bella, Riccardo Bussi, Laura Bellodi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Serotonin selective reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the drugs of choice in the treatment of panic disorder (PD). The serotonin transporter (5-HTT) is a prime target for SSRIs. A functional polymorphism within the promoter region of the 5-HTT gene, leading to different transcriptional efficiency, was repeatedly reported to influence the response to SSRIs in mood disorders while the response of patients with OCD seems unrelated. We tested the hypothesis that allelic variation of the 5-HTT promoter could be related to the antipanic response to paroxetine. In total, 92 patients with PD completed a treatment with a variable dose of paroxetine for 12 weeks. The severity of panic-phobic symptomatology was measured before the beginning of the treatment and after 12 weeks. Allelic variation in each subject was determined using a PCR-based method. Both homozygotes for the long variant (l/l) of the 5-HTT promoter and heterozygotes (l/s) showed a better response to paroxetine than homozygotes for the short variant (s/s) (Χ2 = 6.9, p <0.03). This result emerged in the whole sample, but was related only to female patients (Χ2 = 7.6, p <0.02). The presence of the long allelic variant was associated with a better response of panic attacks while was not significantly associated with the response of anticipatory anxiety or phobic avoidance. In conclusion, paroxetine efficacy in PD seems to be related to allelic variation within the promoter of the 5-HTT gene in female subjects. This gender effect might be related to the genomic effects of sex hormones. Understanding the interaction between gender and genes coding for structures target of psychotropic drugs could help to individualize the pharmacological treatment of PD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2230-2235
Number of pages6
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2005


  • 5-HTTPRL
  • Panic disorder
  • Paroxetineserotonin
  • Treatment response

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


Dive into the research topics of 'Antipanic efficacy of paroxetine and polymorphism within the promoter of the serotonin transporter gene'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this