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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Pharmacodynamics of milnacipran in young and elderly volunteers.

AIMS: To investigate the pharmacodynamics of milnacipran in healthy young and elderly volunteers. METHODS: Randomized double-blind crossover designs were employed and a standardized psychometric battery was administered pre and post dose for both studies. In the first study 10 healthy young volunteers received milnacipran 12.5 mg, 25 mg, 50 mg, 100 mg as a single dose or matched placebo. The test battery was administered at baseline and at 1, 2, 4 and 6 h post dose. The second study compared the effects of milnacipran 75 mg (50 mg+25 mg) per day, amitriptyline 50 mg (25 mg+25 mg) per day and placebo for 3 days' dosing in healthy volunteers aged over 65 years. The test battery was administered at baseline and at 2, 10 and 24 h post dose. The psychometric battery included critical flicker fusion (CFF), choice reaction time (CRT), compensatory tracking (CTT) and tests of short-term memory (STM), subjective sedation (LARS) and subjective sleep (LSEQ). RESULTS: Milnacipran produced no significant dose related effects in the young volunteers. For the elderly, milnacipran significantly (P<0.05) raised CFF scores compared with placebo but had no significant effects on any of the other measures used. Amitriptyline, in contrast, significantly (P<0. 05) lowered CFF threshold, lengthened CRT and increased error on the CTT. On the subjective variables, LARS and LSEQ, amitriptyline increased ratings both of sedation and of difficulty in waking from sleep. CONCLUSIONS: The results showed that milnacipran at single doses of up to 100 mg in healthy young volunteers is free from disruptive effects on cognitive function and psychomotor performance. In addition, milnacipran 75 mg (50+25 mg) appears to be free of negative effects on cognitive function in elderly volunteers, where it seemingly improves performance on CFF. In contrast, the tricyclic antidepressant amitriptyline, used here as a positive internal control, significantly impaired performance in the elderly on the majority of psychometric measures used in this study. This finding not only validated the sensitivity of this current test battery but also indicates the potential behavioural toxicity of amitriptyline in clinical use in the elderly.[1]


  1. Pharmacodynamics of milnacipran in young and elderly volunteers. Hindmarch, I., Rigney, U., Stanley, N., Briley, M. British journal of clinical pharmacology. (2000) [Pubmed]
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