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Original Research

Dried Blood Spot Analysis for Therapeutic Drug Monitoring of Clozapine

Lisanne M. Geers, PharmD; Dan Cohen, MD, PhD; Laura M. Wehkamp, PharmD; Kai van Hateren, MSc; Remco A. Koster, PhD; Olga Yu Fedorenko, MD, PhD; Arkadyi V. Semke, MD, PhD; Nikolay Bokhan, MD, PhD; Svetlana A. Ivanova, MD, PhD; Jos G. W. Kosterink, PharmD, PhD; Anton J. M. Loonen, PharmD, MD, PhD; and Daan J. Touw, PharmD, PhD

Published: October 24, 2017

Article Abstract

Background: Schizophrenia is a psychiatric disorder that affects approximately 0.4%-1% of the population worldwide. Diagnosis of schizophrenia is based primarily on Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) criteria. Clozapine is an antipsychotic drug that is mainly used in the treatment of schizophrenia patients who are refractory or intolerant to at least 2 other antipsychotics. Due to the high variability in pharmacokinetics of clozapine, therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM) is highly recommended for clozapine therapy.

Objective: To develop and clinically validate a novel sampling method using dried blood spot (DBS) to support TDM of clozapine and norclozapine.

Methods: From June 2014 to September 2014, 15 schizophrenia patients (18-55 years) treated with clozapine were included. Plasma, DBS samples made from venous samples (VDBS), and finger prick DBS (DBS) samples were obtained before administration and 2, 4, 6, and 8 hours after clozapine intake. The study was repeated in 6 Russian patients for external validation. Passing-Bablok regression and Bland-Altman analysis were used to compare the DBS, VDBS, and plasma results for clozapine and norclozapine.

Results: The DBS validation results showed good linearity over the concentration time curve measured for clozapine and norclozapine. The accuracy and between- and within-day precision variation values were within accepted ranges. Different blood spot volumes and hematocrit values had no significant influence on the results. The DBS samples were stable at 20°C and 37°C for 2 weeks and at −20°C for 2 years. The mean clozapine and norclozapine DBS/plasma ratios were, respectively, 0.80 (95% CI, 0.76 to 0.85) and 1.063 (95% CI, 1.027 to 1.099) in Dutch patients. The mean clozapine DBS/DPS ratio in Russian patients was 0.70 (95% CI, 0.64 to 0.76).

Conclusion: DBS analysis is a reliable tool for blood sampling and performing TDM of clozapine and norclozapine in daily practice and substantially extends the opportunities for TDM of clozapine.

Volume: 78

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