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Psychopharmacol Bull. 1991;27(4):463-73.

Pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and treatment issues of benzodiazepines: alprazolam, adinazolam, and clonazepam.

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University of Florida, Gainesville.


Alprazolam, adinazolam, and clonazepam share the typical pharmacological effects of benzodiazepines yet are diverse in their pharmacokinetic properties. Alprazolam has an average terminal elimination half-life of 12 hours, whereas adinazolam generates a metabolite responsible for its benzodiazepine effects whose half-life is less than 3 hours. Clonazepam shows a much slower elimination with a half-life of 20 to 80 hours. The rate of decline of plasma benzodiazepine concentration may be an important factor in determining the number of daily doses necessary to maintain optimal anti-panic effects and to minimize rebound anxiety and withdrawal effects. Clonazepam, which has a longer half-life, would be expected to have some advantages over the other drugs. The limited data available do not provide evidence for any substantial advantages of one benzodiazepine over another. The potential disadvantage of the rapid elimination half-life of adinazolam and its metabolite may be offset by formulation in a sustained release capsule. When discontinuing therapy abruptly, a benzodiazepine with a longer half-life may be advantageous; however, when pharmacotherapy is discontinued gradually, the importance of half-life is diminished. Studies of the pharmacodynamics of drug-receptor interactions suggest new approaches to minimizing the adverse effects of discontinuing benzodiazepine therapy. Preliminary data relating plasma alprazolam concentrations to anxiolytic and adverse effects are presented.

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