Pattern of Serum Electrolytes Changes among Non Psychotic Depressives on Amitriptyline.

  • PC Stanley
  • EG Asekomeh
  • UM Osika
  • A Nwafor
  • O Mokwunye
  • IB Ozor


Background: Electrolytes have an extraordinarily central role in biological processes and play an important role in forming the internal environment by which the human nervous system responds to external events. Hence, abnormalities of electrolytes could cause alteration in cellular excitability and produce other biochemical abnormalities. This study investigated the pattern of changes of serum electrolytes in depressive subjects following therapeutic clinical improvement on amitriptyline treatment. Method: Serum electrolytes, Na+, K+, Ca2+, Mg2+, were measured in 30 depressed patients at the Neuropsychiatric Hospital Rumuigbo, Port Harcourt before therapy commenced and after four (4) weeks of amitriptyline. Thirty (30) known non psychotic disordered subjects matched for age and sex were used as control. Results: The mean serum sodium in depressed subjects was 130mmol/l and 125mmol/l pre- therapy and four weeks post therapy respectively, while that of controls was 132mmol/l (p< 0.01). The mean values obtained for serum potassium was 3.5mmol/l for controls, 3.6mmol/l and 3.2mmol/l for depressed subjects pre-therapy and four weeks post therapy respectively(p>0.05). The mean serum calcium level was 2.2mmol/l in the control group while that of the depressed patients was 2.1 mmol/l both pre-therapy and after fours weeks of use of amitryptiline (p> 0.05). Mean serum magnesium among control subjects was 0.7mmol/l but diminished from 1.2 mmol/l to 1.0 mmol/l in depressed subjects pre-therapy and after four weeks of therapy respectively(p< 0.01) Conclusion: Potassium (K+) and Calcium (Ca2+) levels do not seem to be related to clinical symptoms in hospitalized subjects with depression, as was observed with magnesium and sodium ions. Increased magnesium and sodium levels may be relevant markers for depression. The findings of this study may contribute to the early diagnosis and treatment of depression.

Keywords: Non psychotic depressives, amitryptiline, serum electrolyte

Nigerian Journal of Psychiatry Vol. 6 (1) 2008: pp. 37-39

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eISSN: 0189-1774