The novel antidepressant agent, agomelatine, behaves as an agonist at melatonin receptors (MT1 and MT2) and as an antagonist at serotonin (5-HT)(2C) receptors.
Agomelatine resynchronises circadian rhythms in animal models of delayed sleep phase syndrome and other circadian rhythm disruptions. It increases noradrenaline and dopamine release specifically in the frontal cortex and has no influence on the extracellular levels of serotonin. Agomelatine has shown an antidepressant-like effect in animal models of depression (learned helplessness test, despair test, chronic mild stress) as well as in models with circadian rhythm desynchronisation and in models related to stress and anxiety. In humans, agomelatine has positive phase shifting properties; it induces a phase advance of sleep, body temperature decline and melatonin onset. Controlled studies in humans have shown that agomelatine is as effective as the SSRI antidepressants paroxetine and sertraline in the treatment of major depression
Hepatic (90% CYP1A2 and 10% CYP2C9).