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Keywords:

  • antidepressants;
  • pharmacokinetics;
  • plasma protein binding

Abstract

The pharmacokinetics of reboxetine, a new antidepressant agent, were found to be close to linear in a crossover study comparing administration of single 2, 3, 4 and 5 mg capsule doses in 15 healthy male volunteers, and in the same study the capsules were bioequivalent to the proposed therapeutic tablet formulation (4mg). Kinetic analysis was based on HPLC assay of reboxetine in plasma and urine collected up to 72 h after each administration. Plasma levels indicated a rapid absorption (tmax⋍2h) and an elimination half-life of about 13 h. Clearance and volume of distribution were modest (ratios to bioavailability: CL/F⋍29 mL min−1; Vz/F⋍32L); urinary excretion was ∼9% of dose, corresponding to a renal clearance of only 3 mL min−1 (a value consistent with the rate of glomerular filtration of unbound drug). In vitro, binding to plasma proteins, estimated from radioactivity levels following dialysis of 14C-labelled reboxetine, appeared to be dominated by α1-acid glycoprotein without marked saturation up to plasma concentrations of over 500 ng mL−1 (2.8–3.1% unbound with human plasma from three additional volunteers; 1.8–2.0% for 2gL−1 orosomucoid α1-acid glycoprotein, and 46.4–47.4% for 40 gL−1 albumin), whilst the mean Cmax in the current study was much lower (164 ng mL−1 after a 5 mg dose).