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Differences in Duloxetine Dosing Strategies in Smoking and Nonsmoking Patients: Therapeutic Drug Monitoring Uncovers the Impact on Drug Metabolism

J Clin Psychiatry 2018;79(5):17m12086
10.4088/JCP.17m12086

Background: For certain psychotropic drugs, such as clozapine or olanzapine, the influence of smoking on drug metabolism is well studied. Tobacco smoke increases the metabolism of drugs that are substrates for cytochrome P450 (CYP) 1A2 due to CYP induction. The antidepressant duloxetine, acting as a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, is mainly metabolized via CYP1A2. To date, little is known about the influence of smoking on serum duloxetine concentrations.

Methods: A therapeutic drug monitoring database consisting of plasma concentrations of duloxetine collected from January 2013 to June 2017 was analyzed. A group of nonsmoking patients undergoing treatment with duloxetine (n = 89) was compared to a group of active smokers also receiving duloxetine (n = 36). Serum concentrations of duloxetine and dose-adjusted serum concentrations were compared using non-parametric tests.

Results: Groups did not differ concerning sex (P = .063), but the group of active smokers was younger (P < .001) and received higher daily doses of duloxetine (P = .001). Smokers showed significantly lower median serum duloxetine concentrations (38.4% lower, P = .002) and 53.6% lower dose-adjusted serum concentrations (0.325 [ng/mL]/[mg/d] in smokers vs 0.7 [ng/mL]/[mg/d] in nonsmokers, P < .001).

Conclusions: Despite higher daily doses, smokers had considerably lower serum duloxetine concentrations. The induction of CYP1A2 by tobacco smoke is a clinically relevant factor for drugs that are substrates for CYP1A2. Clinicians should actively assess smoking status, inform patients about the effect of smoking on duloxetine metabolism, and anticipate higher serum concentrations in the case of smoking cessation. Therapeutic drug monitoring ensures treatment efficacy by enabling the personalizing of treatment, as smokers need higher duloxetine doses to target serum concentrations within the therapeutic reference range.