Systematic (IUPAC) name
Clinical data
Legal status
CAS number
ATC code None
IUPHAR ligand
Chemical data
Formula C23H26N2O 
Mol. mass 346.47 g/mol

Roxindole (EMD-49,980) is a dopaminergic and serotonergic drug which was originally developed for the treatment of schizophrenia.[1][2][3] In clinical trials its antipsychotic efficacy was only modest but it was unexpectedly found to produce potent and rapid antidepressant and anxiolytic effects.[2][3] As a result, roxindole was further researched for the treatment of depression instead.[1][4][4] It has also been investigated as a therapy for Parkinson's disease and prolactinoma.[5][6]

Roxindole acts as an agonist at the following receptors:[7][8]

At D2 and possibly D3 receptors roxindole is a partial agonist with preferential actions at autoreceptors and has been touted as a 'selective' autoreceptor agonist, hence the justification of its application as an antipsychotic.[9][10] It is also a serotonin reuptake inhibitor (IC50 = 1.4 nM) and has been reported to act as a 5-HT2A receptor antagonist as well.[8][9][10][11]


  1. ^ a b Gründer G, Wetzel H, Hammes E, Benkert O (1993). "Roxindole, a dopamine autoreceptor agonist, in the treatment of major depression". Psychopharmacology 111 (1): 123–6.  
  2. ^ a b Klimke A, Klieser E (July 1991). "Antipsychotic efficacy of the dopaminergic autoreceptor agonist EMD 49980 (Roxindol). Results of an open clinical study". Pharmacopsychiatry 24 (4): 107–12.  
  3. ^ a b Kasper S, Fuger J, Zinner HJ, Bäuml J, Möller HJ (March 1992). "Early clinical results with the neuroleptic roxindole (EMD 49,980) in the treatment of schizophrenia--an open study". European Neuropsychopharmacology : the Journal of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology 2 (1): 91–5.  
  4. ^ a b Maj J, Kolodziejczyk K, Rogóz Z, Skuza G (1996). "Roxindole, a potential antidepressant. I. Effect on the dopamine system". Journal of Neural Transmission (Vienna, Austria : 1996) 103 (5): 627–41.  
  5. ^ Bravi D, Davis TL, Mouradian MM, Chase TN (April 1993). "Treatment of Parkinson's disease with the partial dopamine agonist EMD 49980". Movement Disorders : Official Journal of the Movement Disorder Society 8 (2): 195–7.  
  6. ^ Jaspers C, Benker G, Reinwein D (June 1994). "Treatment of prolactinoma patients with the new non-ergot dopamine agonist roxindol: first results". The Clinical Investigator 72 (6): 451–6.  
  7. ^ Newman-Tancredi A, Cussac D, Audinot V, Millan MJ (June 1999). "Actions of roxindole at recombinant human dopamine D2, D3 and D4 and serotonin 5-HT1A, 5-HT1B and 5-HT1D receptors". Naunyn-Schmiedeberg's Archives of Pharmacology 359 (6): 447–53.  
  8. ^ a b Heinrich T, Böttcher H, Bartoszyk GD, Greiner HE, Seyfried CA, Van Amsterdam C (September 2004). "Indolebutylamines as selective 5-HT(1A) agonists". Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 47 (19): 4677–83.  
  9. ^ a b Seyfried CA, Greiner HE, Haase AF (January 1989). "Biochemical and functional studies on EMD 49,980: a potent, selectively presynaptic D-2 dopamine agonist with actions on serotonin systems". European Journal of Pharmacology 160 (1): 31–41.  
  10. ^ a b Bartoszyk GD, Harting J, Minck KO (January 1996). "Roxindole: psychopharmacological profile of a dopamine D2 autoreceptor agonist". The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 276 (1): 41–8.  
  11. ^ Maj J, Kołodziejczyk K, Rogóz Z, Skuza G (March 1997). "Roxindole, a dopamine autoreceptor agonist with a potential antidepressant activity. II. Effects on the 5-hydroxytryptamine system". Pharmacopsychiatry 30 (2): 55–61.