Introduction of a Composite Parameter to the Pharmacokinetics of Venlafaxine and its Active O-Desmethyl Metabolite


Wyeth-Ayerst Research, P.O. Box 8299, Philadelphia, PA 19101–1245.


Venlafaxine is a structurally novel, nontricyclic compound that is being evaluated for the treatment of various depressive disorders. A randomized three-period crossover study was conducted to obtain pharmacokinetic and dose proportionality data on the drug and its active metabolite, O-desmethylvenlafaxine. Eighteen healthy young men received single doses of venlafaxine 25, 75, and 150 mg followed by 3 days of administration every 8 hours (q8h). Steady-state elimination half-life was 3 to 4 hours for venlafaxine and 10 hours for O-desmethylvenlafaxine; both were independent of dose. Venlafaxine had a high oral-dose clearance, ranging from 0.58 to 2.63 L/hr/kg across doses with the lowest mean clearance, 0.98 L/hr/kg, at the highest dose. The apparent clearance of O-desmethylvenlafaxine was lower than venlafaxine, ranging from 0.21 to 0.66 L/hr/kg, and the lowest mean clearance, 0.33 L/hr/kg, occurred at the lowest dose. The area under the metabolite curve was two to three times greater than that for venlafaxine. Each compound had linear dose proportionality up to 75 mg q8h. A composite parameter incorporating venlafaxine plus O-desmethylvenlafaxine was introduced (i.e., AUC [area under the curve] + activity factor · AUCm), which extended linearity to 150 mg q8h. In summary, venlafaxine is a high-clearance drug that forms a metabolite with almost equal activity and demonstrates linear dose-proportionality.