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Clin Pharmacol Ther. 1999 Sep;66(3):323-5.

Psychotropic drugs in acute intermittent porphyria.

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Department of Psychiatric Medicine, University of Virginia Health Sciences Center, Charlottesville 22908, USA.


Acute intermittent porphyria is one of a group of metabolic diseases called the porphyrias that may lead to symptoms of the central nervous system during an acute exacerbation. Certain drugs such as barbiturates are known to precipitate attacks of acute intermittent porphyria, but unfortunately there is little information regarding the safety of many psychotropic drugs in this disorder, especially the newer antidepressants and atypical antipsychotics. We report a case of an elderly patient with acute intermittent porphyria who was treated with a variety of psychotropic agents for a severe depression with psychotic features. Although many of the agents did not improve the psychiatric status of the patient, all the drugs were tolerated without precipitating an episode of acute intermittent porphyria. To our knowledge, this is the first report of the safe use of sertraline, venlafaxine, olanzapine, risperidone, clozapine, buspirone, trazodone, lorazepam, and clonazepam in a patient with documented acute intermittent porphyria. Our report also supports the safety of trifluoperazine. Although response and sensitivity to drugs may vary greatly among patients with this disorder, clinicians may want to consider the possibility of the above drugs to treat psychiatric symptoms in patients with acute intermittent porphyria.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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