The success of serotonergic reuptake inhibitors in the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) has suggested that serotonergic neurotransmission may play a role in the pathogenisis of this disorder. Prolactin responses to a 60-mg oral dose of fenfluramine in 26 medication-free patients with a DSM-III-R diagnosis of OCD were compared with those of 20 controls subjects. Fenfluramine produced a significant elevation of prolactin levels in both OCD patients and controls. Prolactin responses were significantly blunted in OCD patients compared with responses in control subjects. Female subjects in both groups showed greater prolactin responses to fenfluramine than did their male counterparts. There was a significant interaction between sex and the presence of OCD such that female patients had lower prolactin responses than their controls, while the difference between male patients and controls was not significant. Prolactin responses were not correlated with age, weight, drug level, depression, anxiety, or degree of OCD symptoms. The results are consistent with a relative reduction in serotonergic efficacy in the setting of OCD.
- sex differences