Effects of paroxetine on emotional functioning and treatment awareness: a 4-week randomized placebo-controlled study in healthy clinicians.

Psychopharmacology

PubMedID: 19826792

Besnier N, Cassé-Perrot C, Jouve E, Nguyen N, Lançon C, Falissard B, Blin O. Effects of paroxetine on emotional functioning and treatment awareness: a 4-week randomized placebo-controlled study in healthy clinicians. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2010;207(4):619-29.
OBJECTIVE
The objective of our study was to evaluate the effects of paroxetine on emotional functioning in three arms: double-blind paroxetine (DBPX), single-blind paroxetine (SBPX), and double-blind placebo (DBPO). Healthy psychologists and psychiatrists were elected for their ability to analyze with correct sensibility changes in their emotions.

METHOD
Thirty nonanxious, nondepressed participants working as psychiatrists (N = 18) or psychologists (N = 12) were randomly assigned to receive an ambulatory treatment with paroxetine (DBPX N = 10, SBPX N = 10) or placebo (DBPO N = 10). Paroxetine was administered for 4 weeks at 20 mg/day. Emotional functioning was evaluated with the Emotional State Questionnaire (ESQ), a self-questionnaire designed to assess four emotional dimensions: "recognition," "expression," "internal emotional experience," and "social context." Changes in emotional measures from baseline to D0, D7, D14, D28, and D42 were compared between treatment groups.

RESULTS
Analyses of ESQ showed in DBPX a significant decrease from baseline to D28 in internal emotional experience as compared to SBPX and DBPO groups. A different influence of gender between treatment groups on emotional recognition was observed.

CONCLUSIONS
This is the first study assessing the impact of a 4-week paroxetine treatment on emotional functioning in healthy psychiatrists and psychologists. The DBPX group was distinguishable from both SBPX and DBPO groups by a decrease in internal emotional experience, suggesting that two factors could be involved in the clinical response to paroxetine: a decrease in emotional feeling and treatment awareness.