D-fenfluramine-induced prolactin responses in postwithdrawal alcoholics and controls

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry

Publication Date


Document Type



Adult; Alcohol Withdrawal Delirium; Alcoholism; Fenfluramine; Genotype; Humans; Male; Middle Aged; Prolactin; Receptors, Serotonin; Reference Values; Temperance




Serum prolactin response to the serotonin agonist D-fenfluramine were measured in 19 DSM-111-R male alcoholics, 2.5 or more weeks postalcohol withdrawal. Prolactin responses were compared with nine healthy nonalcoholic male controls. After an overnight fast, each subject received 30 mg of D-fenfluramine orally, and serial samples of serum prolactin were taken over a 4-hr period. D-fenfluramine caused a significantly attenuated peak delta-prolactin response in the alcoholics relative to the controls (p = 0.05). A repeated-measures ANOVA of delta-prolactin yielded a significant within-subjects effect of time (p < 0.05), a within-subjects effect of group that reached significance (p = 0.05), and a nonsignificant group by time interaction. The delta-prolactin value at time points 60 and 240 min postadministration of the probe was significantly attenuated in the alcoholic group, with p < 0.05. There was also some evidence for a diminished serotonergic response in those alcoholics with a negative family history. The delta-prolactin response did not correlate with subjects' age, duration of alcohol use, duration of abstinence from alcohol, severity of alcohol dependence, or age of onset. Results imply a relative subsensitivity of the serotonin system in postwithdrawal alcoholics, and this may be primarily of the 5-HT2 receptor.


Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 1995 Dec;19(6):1578-82.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Alcoholism, clinical and experimental research

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