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Effect of age and gender on citalopram and desmethylcitalopram steady-state plasma concentrations in adults and elderly depressed patients.

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  • 1Instituto de Psiquiatria, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


The effect of aging on steady-state plasma concentrations of citalopram (CIT) and desmethylcitalopram (DCIT) was investigated in 128 depressive patients treated with 10-80 mg/day CIT. They were separated into three groups, with age up to 64 years (mean age+/-S.D.: 47+/-12 years; n=48), between 65 and 79 years (72+/-1 years; n=57), and from 80 years or older (84+/-1 years; n=23). Body mass index (BMI), renal and hepatic functions were similar in the three groups. A large interindividual variability of plasma levels of CIT (16-fold) and DCIT (12-fold) was measured for a given dose. The mean plasma levels of CIT corrected for a 20 mg daily dose were 55% higher in the very elderly (>=80 years) patients (65+/-30 ng/ml; p<0.001) and 38% higher in the elderly (65-79 years) patients (58+/-24 ng/ml; p<0.001) when compared to the adult patients (42+/-17 ng/ml). DCIT mean plasma level was 38% higher (p<0.05) in the group of very elderly patients (22+/-10 ng/ml) when compared to the adult patients (16+/-9 ng/ml). As a consequence, the mean plasma concentration of CIT+DCIT was 48% higher in the very elderly patients (86+/-36 ng/ml; p<0.001) and 33% higher in the elderly patients (77+/-28 ng/ml; p<0.001) when compared to the adult patients (58+/-21 ng/ml). Age correlated significantly with CIT (r=0.43, p<0.001), DCIT (r=0.28, p<0.01), and CIT+DCIT plasma levels (r=0.44, p<0.001), and thus accounts for 18% of the variability of CIT plasma levels, with no influence of gender. The recommended dose reduction of CIT in elderly patients seems therefore justified.

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