Research Article| Volume 32, ISSUE 9, P817-824, November 01, 1992

Drug distribution between blood and brain as a determinant of antipsychotic drug effects

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      Concentrations of the neuroleptics haloperidol, bromperidol, fluphenazine, chlorpromazine and its metabolites nor-1- and nor-2-chlorpromazine, thioridazine and its metabolites mesoridazine, sulforidazine, and northioridazine, and promazine were estimated is serum and brain of rats by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with electrochemical detection following 5 days of chronic administration of drug at typical doses (haloperidol, bromperidol, and fluphenazine 1 mg/kg/day; chlorpromazine, promazine, and thioridazine 25 mg/kg/day). The observed ration of brain-to-serum concentration of drug varied widely (0.18–62.5) among neuroleptics studied. High potency agents had more favorable brain-to-blood distribution than low potency agents, and a strong correlation (r = 0.734, p < 0.05) was observed between the brain-to-serum ratios of the neuroleptics and standard clinical doses of drug. This finding suggests that drug distribution is a significant determinant of clinical potency. For most neuroleptics, including drugs with high (fluphenazine, haloperidol) and low potency (thioridazine) such as dopamine D2 antagonists, concentration of drug in the brain was similar. If the results are applicable to patients, they suggest that the degree of dopamine D2 blockade achieved during treatment may vary by drug. Chlorpromazine and promazine were notable for producing high concentrations of drug in the brain at typical doses, suggesting that optimal doses might be lower than those in common use. These results may be important in designing and interpreting studies of the effects of neuroleptic drugs in animals and patients.
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