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Phenelzine in the rat induced biphasic behavioural stimulation, which was profoundly potentiated by deuterium substitution. Doses of 12.5 or 25.0 mg/kg phenelzine had little or no effect on spontaneous activity, whereas the same doses of deuterated phenelzine produced hyperactivity, wet-dog shakes, forepaw padding, splayed hind limbs, backward walking, sniffing and stereotyped grooming 2-12 h after injection. Similarly, the behavioural response induced by 50.0 mg/kg phenelzine was strongly potentiated by deuterium substitution. It appears likely that the increased behavioural response induced by deuterated phenelzine may be due to its greater potency as a monoamine oxidase inhibitor compared to undeuterated phenelzine. Since phenelzine is an antidepressant that is particularly efficacious in the treatment of severe anxiety, a deuterated analogue of the drug seems likely to be clinically useful.


Journal article


Psychopharmacology (Berl)

Publication Date





122 - 125


Animals, Behavior, Animal, Deuterium, Male, Motor Activity, Phenelzine, Rats, Rats, Inbred Strains