Clinical and biochemical effects during treatment of depression with nortriptyline: The role of 10-hydroxynortriptyline

Clinical Pharmacology &#38 Therapeutics (Impact Factor: 7.9). 08/1987; 42(1):10-9. DOI: 10.1038/clpt.1987.101
Source: PubMed


Plasma concentrations of nortriptyline (NT) and its major metabolite 10-hydroxy-NT (10-OH-NT) were measured in 30 patients with depression, treated with NT for 3 weeks. Nine patients who recovered completely had plasma concentrations of NT and 10-OH-NT ranging from 358 to 728 nmol/L and from 428 to 688 nmol/L, respectively. Of the 21 patients who did not recover completely, only four had plasma concentrations within the window limited by these two plasma concentration ranges. A correlation was found between the degree of amelioration and the plasma concentration of NT (rs = 0.469; P less than 0.01). Lumbar punctures were performed in 26 patients before and after 3 weeks of NT treatment. During treatment there was a 30.9% mean decrease in the noradrenaline metabolite 4-hydroxy-3-methoxyphenylglycol (HMPG) in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). We could not evaluate the extent to which this decrease was caused by NT or 10-OH-NT, respectively, because both are strong inhibitors of noradrenaline uptake. The ratio between the concentration of NT and 10-OH-NT in CSF correlated to the reduction of HMPG in CSF (r = 0.397; P less than 0.05) and to the amelioration of depression (rs = 0.623; P less than 0.001). This might indicate that NT and 10-OH-NT interact on the noradrenaline system in a nonadditive way. During treatment there was a 15.2% decrease in CSF concentration of the serotonin metabolite 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid. The reduction was significantly correlated to the CSF concentration of NT but not to that of 10-OH-NT. This is in accordance with the fact that NT is a more potent inhibitor of serotonin uptake than is 10-OH-NT. The dopamine metabolite homovanillic acid in CSF decreased significantly by 10.0%. The biochemical data indicate that noradrenergic, serotoninergic, and dopaminergic systems are affected by NT treatment and that 10-OH-NT might be more selective on noradrenergic neurons than the parent drug.

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    • "Preliminary data have been presented at the Third International Meeting on Clinical Pharmacology in Psychiatry in Odense, Denmark, 1982 (Bertilsson et al., 1983) and at the 13th 412 C. Nordin, L. Bertilsson & B. Siwers CINP Congress in Jerusalem, Israel, 1982 (Nordin et al., 1984). "
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    ABSTRACT: After 3 weeks' nortriptyline (NT) treatment the mean plasma concentration of its 10-hydroxy metabolite (10-OH-NT) (599 +/- 207 nmol l-1) was higher than that of the parent drug (433 +/- 199 nmol l-1) in 25 depressed patients. Also in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) the mean level of 10-OH-NT (67 +/- 20 nmol l-1) was higher than that of NT (39 +/- 23 nmol l-1). There was a strong correlation (P less than 0.001) between the CSF and plasma concentration of both NT (r = 0.92) and 10-OH-NT (r = 0.77). The interindividual variation in the CSF/plasma ratio of both compounds was small, compared to the variation in plasma levels. These results show that 10-OH-NT passes the blood-brain barrier as it is present in concentrations higher than those of NT in the CSF. 10-OH-NT has previously been shown to be a potent blocker of noradrenaline uptake and to have much less affinity for muscarinic receptors than NT itself. This active metabolite might therefore be a potential antidepressant with less disturbing anticholinergic side-effects.
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