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Clin Pharmacokinet. 1991 Apr;20(4):263-79.

Clinical pharmacokinetics of ketanserin.

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Department of Medicine I and Clinical Pharmacology, Sahlgren's Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden.


Ketanserin is a serotonin S2-receptor antagonist introduced for the treatment of arterial hypertension and vasospastic disorders. Plasma concentrations of ketanserin (and some metabolites) can be measured with high performance liquid chromatography using ultraviolet or fluorescence detection, or by radioimmunoassay. The methods are sensitive, accurate and specific. Following oral administration ketanserin is almost completely (more than 98%) and rapidly absorbed and peak concentrations in plasma are reached within 0.5 to 2 hours. It is subject to considerable extraction and metabolism in the liver (first-pass effect) and the absolute bioavailability is around 50%. The compound is extensively distributed to tissues and the volume of distribution is in the order of 3 to 6 L/kg. In plasma ketanserin binds avidly to plasma proteins, mainly albumin, and the free fraction is around 5%. Ketanserin is extensively metabolised and less than 2% is excreted as the parent compound. The major metabolic pathway is by ketone reduction leading to formation of ketanserin-ol which is mainly excreted in the urine. Ketanserin-ol, which by itself does not contribute to the overall pharmacological effect, is partly reoxidised into ketanserin, and it is likely that the terminal half-life of the parent compound is related to the slow ketanserin regeneration from the metabolite. Following intravenous administration plasma ketanserin concentrations decay triexponentially with sequential half-lives of 0.13, 2 and 14.3 h. The terminal half-life is similar after oral administration. Following long term oral dosing (20 or 40 mg twice daily) the pharmacokinetics remain linear and steady-state concentrations, which can be predicted from single-dose kinetics, are reached within 4 days. During long term treatment with the common dosage of 40 mg twice daily, steady-state concentrations fluctuate between 40 micrograms/L (trough) and 100 to 140 micrograms/L (peak). The pharmacokinetic properties of ketanserin are predictable in a wide group of patients and there is no influence from the duration of treatment, age and sex of the patient or concomitant treatment with beta-blockers or diuretics. There is no direct relationship between plasma concentrations of ketanserin and the antihypertensive effect in a group of patients. Side effects, including prolongation of the Q-T interval, are dose-dependent and, at least in the individual patient, related to peak plasma concentrations. In separate studies the pharmacokinetics of ketanserin were investigated in special patient groups, namely the elderly and patients with hepatic and renal insufficiency.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS).

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