Systematic (IUPAC) name
Clinical data
Pregnancy cat.  ?
Legal status Prescription only
Routes Oral
Pharmacokinetic data
Half-life 1.5-4 hours
CAS number 24526-64-5 YesY
ATC code N06AX04
PubChem CID 4528
DrugBank DB04821
ChemSpider 4371 YesY
ChEBI CHEBI:116225 N
Chemical data
Formula C16H18N2 
Mol. mass 238.328 g/mol
SMILES eMolecules & PubChem
 N(what is this?)  (verify)

Nomifensine (Merital, Alival) is a norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitor developed by a team at Hoechst AG in the 1960s.[1]. The drug was test-marketed in the United States by Hoechst AG (now Sanofi-Aventis), i.e. a drug that increases the amount of synaptic norepinephrine and dopamine available to receptors by blocking the dopamine and norepinephrine reuptake transporters. [2] This is a mechanism of action shared by some recreational drugs like cocaine (see DRI), and currently-available antidepressants (e.g. Bupropion).[citation needed]

Nomifensine was investigated for use as an antidepressant in the 1970s, and was found to be a useful antidepressant at doses of 50-225 mg per day, both motivating and anxiolytic. There were relatively few adverse effects (mainly dry mouth, headache, nausea), the drug was not sedating, did not interact significantly with alcohol and lacked anticholinergic effects. No withdrawal symptoms were seen after 6 months treatment. The drug was however considered not suitable for agitated patients as it presumably made agitation worse.[3][4]

Some case reports in the 1980s suggested that there was potential for psychological dependence on nomifensine, typically in patients with a history of stimulant addiction, or when the drug was used in very high doses (400-600mg per day).[5]

In a 1989 study it has been investigated for use in treating adult ADHD and proven successful.[6] In a 1977 study it has not proven of benefit in advanced parkinsonism, except for depression associated with the parkinsonism.[7]

Nomifensine was withdrawn in the US, Canada and the UK for a risk of haemolytic anaemia.[8]Some deaths were linked to immunohaemolytic anemia caused by this compound although the mechanism remained unclear.[9]

Nomifensine is now mainly used in scientific research, particularly in studies involving dopamine release in response to addiction. This is because typically different areas of the brain have different amounts of dopamine transporter, but when Nomifensine is administered, a sufficient basal dopamine level is reached to allow comparison of dopamine release from drugs of abuse in different areas of the brain without the results being skewed by re-uptake speed variation.[citation needed]

See also


  2. ^ Brogden, R. N.; Heel, R. C.; Speight, T. M.; Avery, G. S. (1979). "Nomifensine: A review of its pharmacological properties and therapeutic efficacy in depressive illness". Drugs 18 (1): 1–24. PMID 477572.  edit
  3. ^
  4. ^ Yakabow, A. L.; Hardiman, S.; Nash, R. J. (1984). "An overview of side effects and long-term experience with nomifensine from United States clinical trials". The Journal of clinical psychiatry 45 (4 Pt 2): 96–101. PMID 6370985.  edit
  5. ^ Böning, J.; Fuchs, G. (2008). "Nomifensine and Psychological Dependence - a Case Report". Pharmacopsychiatry 19 (5): 386–388. doi:10.1055/s-2007-1017275. PMID 3774872.  edit
  6. ^ Shekim, W. O.; Masterson, A.; Cantwell, D. P.; Hanna, G. L.; McCracken, J. T. (1989). "Nomifensine maleate in adult attention deficit disorder". The Journal of nervous and mental disease 177 (5): 296–299. PMID 2651559.  edit
  7. ^ Bedard, P.; Parkes, J. D.; Marsden, C. D. (1977). "Nomifensine in Parkinson's disease". British journal of clinical pharmacology 4Suppl 2 (Suppl 2): 187S–190S. PMC 1429119. PMID 334223.  edit
  8. ^
  9. ^ Galbaud Du Fort, G. (1988). "Hematologic toxicity of antidepressive agents". L'Encephale 14 (4): 307–318. PMID 3058454.  edit

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