How drugs for depression affect clotting

Determination of the mechanism of action of platelet inhibition by the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor citalopram and its chirally pure isomers

Gavin Jarvis (lead researcher)

Cambridge, University of

Start date: 01 October 2014 (Duration 3 years)

Some medicines do more than one thing at a time. For example, aspirin is great if you have a headache and is also used to help prevent a heart attack in people at high risk. It does this by blocking the action of platelets. Platelets are small cells in the blood which are important for blood clotting but can also precipitate a heart attack by forming a clot (thrombosis) inside the coronary artery.

There are other medicines that have side effects which are good rather than bad. For example, some medicines commonly used to treat depression may also reduce the chances of having a heart attack. One example is a drug called citalopram which affects platelets. It is thought that citalopram may block the activation of platelets, but the way citalopram works is not properly understood. Interestingly, it seems that citalopram may work differently in people from different ethnic backgrounds. In this PhD studentship, based at the University of Cambridge, the researchers are going to take blood from volunteers of different ethnic backgrounds and examine how citalopram affects their platelets in the laboratory.

The study may find new ways to treat a heart attack and it will also find out if people taking citalopram for depression could benefit from its effects on platelets.

Project details

Grant amount £112,200
Grant type Fellowship
Application type PhD Studentship
Start Date 01 October 2014
Duration 3 years
Reference FS/13/63/30437
Status In progress

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