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Pharmacokinetic Studies of Antipsychotics in Healthy Volunteers Versus Patients

Neal R. Cutler, MD

Published: April 1, 2001

Article Abstract
In clinical trials of dopamine-blocking antipsychotics, significant adverse events may occur in healthy volunteers at dose levels that are well tolerated by schizophrenic patients. Because of these differences in tolerability, bioequivalence and pharmacokinetic studies of antipsychotics should be performed in schizophrenic patients rather than in healthy volunteers. When clozapine is the drug being investigated, pharmacokinetic and bioequivalence studies should be carried out in real-life dosage conditions because the half-life of clozapine increases with multiple doses. Under real-life conditions, the evaluation of multiple doses of clozapine in a population of schizophrenic patients can provide direct therapeutic relevance to bioavailability findings. This article discusses patient recruitment and informed consent in pharmacokinetic trials of schizophrenia, issues in studying antipsychotic agents in healthy volunteers versus schizophrenic patients, and a bioequivalency study of Clozaril (Novartis Pharmaceuticals) and generic clozapine (Creighton [Sandoz]) in schizophrenic patients.


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