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J Clin Psychopharmacol. 1998 Feb;18(1):2-9.

Pharmacokinetic interactions of clozapine with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors: differential effects of fluvoxamine and paroxetine in a prospective study.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Mainz, Germany.


Pharmacokinetic interactions of clozapine and its metabolites N-desmethylclozapine and clozapine N-oxide with the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) fluvoxamine and paroxetine were investigated in a prospective study in schizophrenic patients under steady-state conditions. Thirty patients were treated with clozapine at a target dose of 2.5 to 3.0 mg/kg of body weight. After gradual dose escalation, serum concentrations of clozapine and two metabolites were determined twice at 7-day intervals after steady-state conditions had been reached. Then, fluvoxamine (50 mg/day) or paroxetine (20 mg/day) was added in 16 and 14 patients, respectively. Serum concentrations of clozapine and its metabolites were measured after 1, 7, and 14 days of coadministration with the SSRI. Mean trough concentrations of steady-state serum concentrations of clozapine, N-desmethylclozapine, and clozapine N-oxide were markedly elevated under fluvoxamine by about threefold of baseline concentrations whereas paroxetine induced only minor, nonsignificant changes. Estimation of the mean elimination half-life of clozapine 2 weeks after start of fluvoxamine comedication revealed an increase from 17 hours to about 50 hours whereas there was no change under paroxetine coadministration. The N-desmethylclozapine/clozapine ratio did not change significantly with either SSRI. Under monotherapy, clozapine mean serum concentrations in smokers were significantly lower by 32% compared with nonsmokers. Similarly, N-demethylation ratios were about 20 to 50% higher in smokers. Thus, in all patients, fluvoxamine induced relevant increases in serum concentrations of clozapine and its metabolites, probably by the inhibition of enzymes catalyzing the degradation of clozapine and N-desmethylclozapine, whereas paroxetine, at a usual clinically effective dosage of 20 mg/day, did not cause significant pharmacokinetic interactions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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