, Volume 99, Issue 4, pp 463-472

Striatal dopamine receptor occupancy during and following withdrawal from neuroleptic treatment: correlative evaluation by positron emission tomography and plasma prolactin levels

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The percentage occupation of striatal dopamine D2 receptors has been evaluated in 25 patients using76Br-bromospiperone positron emission tomography (PET) and prolactin plasma levels (PRL) during oral neuroleptic treatment (11 studies), 1–90 days following discontinuation of such treatment (16 studies), and 1–120 days after last intramuscular administration of depot neuroleptics (nine studies). The PET-estimated occupation was highly significantly correlated in a sigmoîd-like fashion to the logarithm of the chlorpromazine-equivalent dose of oral neuroleptics (suggesting a strict dose-occupation relationship during oral neuroleptic treatment and supporting the D2-mediated hypothesis of neuroleptic action), while PRL was weakly related to daily dosage. Following withdrawal, return to normal receptor availability, as estimated by PET, occurred within 5–15 days (suggesting that protracted effects of neuroleptics after withdrawal are not due to sustained D2 receptor occupation), but PRL values fell even more rapidly. Efficient treatment with depot neuroleptics resulted in marked PET-estimated D2 receptor occupation, stable over the whole 4-week drug-administration interval, suggesting that longer intervals could be appropriate; PRL values bore no relationship to PET-estimated occupation, indicating variable intersubject tolerance to neuro-endocrine dopamine blockade. Overall, PET was much more sensitive than PRL to estimate striatal D2 receptor occupation in vivo.

Presented in part at the 5th International Meeting on Clinical Pharmacology in Psychiatry, Tromsø, Norway, June 26–29, 1988