The pharmacokinetics of nomifensine. Comparison of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics using computer pharmaco-EEG
Saletu B, Grunberger J, Linzmayer L, Taeuber K
Int Pharmacopsychiatry 1982; 17 Suppl 1:43-72


Pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of nomifensine infusions as compared with oral preparations were investigated in a double-blind place-controlled crossover study in 10 healthy normal volunteers. They received randomized in weekly intervals 75 mg nomifensine and placebo intravenously as well as placebo, 75 and 150 mg nomifensine orally. Blood samples, quantitative EEG evaluations, psychometric tests, blood pressure, pulse rate and side effects were obtained and monitored at the hours 0, 1, 2, 4, 6 and 8. Nomifensine serum levels were determined by a radioimmunoassay; peak levels occurred within the first 2 h, the elimination half-life was around 2 h, both results indicating fast absorption and elimination. While the evaluation of the total nomifensine demonstrated almost identical bioavailability of the oral and intravenous form, free nomifensine levels after 75 mg i.v. were more similar to those after 150 mg than 75 mg p.o. Digital computer period analysis of the EEG confirmed nomifensine as a drug with a significant effect on the CNS as compared with placebo, showing in fact an antidepressant 'pharmaco-EEG profile' similar to desipramine. Evaluation of dose-effect curves demonstrated that 75 mg i.v. was the most effective drug, being closer to 150 than 75 mg p.o. The latter oral dosage could be discriminated from placebo only in certain variables at certain times. Concerning time-effect, nomifensine was most effective around the 6th hour post-drug, which was similar to the psychometric findings, thus showing a considerable delay compared to the peak serum concentration. Relating pharmacodynamic findings to pharmacokinetic results it became evident that free nomifensine may be of far greater importance for the drugs encephalotropic and psychotropic properties than the total unconjugated and conjugated nomifensine--thus justifying the development of a parenteral preparation. Finally, the relationship of blood levels and CNS effects was found to have a characteristic 'hysteresis loop' shape suggesting a delay of pharmacodynamic effects as opposed to the serum concentrations. This delay may be due to a slowly formed active metabolite, the drug acting on deep compartment receptors or both.
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