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Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 1998 Oct;54(8):639-43.

A pharmacokinetic interaction between carbamazepine and olanzapine: observations on possible mechanism.

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Eli Lilly and Company Limited, Lilly Research Centre, Windlesham, Surrey, UK. LUCAS_RICHARD@LILLY.COM



Olanzapine is a novel antipsychotic, which is effective against both the positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia and causes fewer extrapyramidal adverse effects than conventional antipsychotics. The purpose of the present study was to assess the potential for a pharmacokinetic interaction between olanzapine and carbamazepine, since these agents are likely to be used concomitantly in the treatment of manic psychotic disorder.


The pharmacokinetics of two single therapeutic doses of olanzapine were determined in 11 healthy volunteers. The first dose of olanzapine (10 mg) was taken alone and the second dose (10 mg) after 2 weeks of treatment with carbamazepine (200 mg BID). Measurement of urinary 6beta-hydroxycortisol/cortisol excretion was used as an endogenous marker to confirm that induction of CYP3A4 by carbamazepine had occurred.


The dose of olanzapine given after a 2-week pretreatment with carbamazepine was cleared more rapidly than olanzapine given alone. Olanzapine pharmacokinetic values for Cmax and AUC were significantly lower after the second dose, the elimination half-life was significantly shorter, and the clearance and volume of distribution were significantly increased.


Carbamazepine has been shown to induce several P450 cytochromes including CYP3A4 and CYP1A2. Since CYP1A2 plays a role in the metabolic clearance of olanzapine, the interaction may be attributed to induction of CYP1A2 by carbamazepine, leading to increased first-pass and systemic metabolism of olanzapine. The interaction is not considered to be of clinical significance because olanzapine has a wide therapeutic index, and the changes in plasma concentration of olanzapine are within the fourfold variation that occurs without concern for safety in a patient population.

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