Effects of reboxetine on sleep and nocturnal cardiac autonomic activity in patients with dysthymia

Luigi Ferini-Strambi, Mauro Manconi, Vincenza Castronovo, Laura Riva, Anna Bianchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Antidepressants may have sleep and autonomic side-effects. The acute and long-term effect of reboxetine (2 mg b.i.d.) on sleep and cardiac autonomic activity was compared with that of placebo in a single-blind study. Twelve patients affected by dysthymia underwent four polysomnographic studies at baseline (placebo); at night 3 (reboxetine; acute effect); at night 9 (reboxetine; intermediate-term effect); and at night 122 (reboxetine; chronic effect). After the first administration, reboxetine increased time awake after sleep onset, number of awakenings, percentage of stages 1 and 2 non-rapid eye movement (REM), and reduced the amount of stages 3-4 non-REM, but all these effects disappeared by continuing treatment. However, reboxetine caused a persistent suppression of REM sleep, which was accompanied by an increase of REM sleep latency. The spectral analysis of heart rate variability showed a trend towards an increase in sympathetic activity with both acute and intermediate reboxetine use. Long-term treatment with 4 mg reboxetine does not cause significant changes in cardiac autonomic function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)417-422
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Psychopharmacology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2004


  • Cardiac autonomic activity
  • Dysthymia
  • Insomnia
  • Polysomnography
  • Reboxetine
  • Sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Neuroscience(all)


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