Plasma concentrations of neuroactive steroids in men with panic disorder (PD) were measured to evaluate their relations to psychopathology both before and during treatment. Participants comprised 13 men with PD and 10 normal controls. Patients were evaluated while drug-free as well as after I and 2 months of paroxetine therapy. Psychopathology was assessed by the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), the Panic-Associated Symptom Scale, and the Fear Questionnaire total score. Plasma concentrations of steroids were measured by radio immunoassay. The plasma concentrations of progesterone and dehydroepiandrosterone were greater in drug-free patients than in controls, whereas those of allopregnanolone and tetrahydrodeoxycorticosterone did not differ between the two groups. Paroxetine treatment for 2 months significantly increased the plasma concentration of allopregnanolone but did not affect those of the other steroids. At 2 months of therapy, allopregnanolone concentrations in patients were significantly greater than those in controls. The plasma concentrations of progesterone and tetrahydrodeoxycorticosterone correlated with the STAI state score in patients before treatment. Our data suggest that neuroactive steroids may play a role in PD in men. (C) 2005 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
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