Pharmacokinetics and plasma level/effect relationships of tricyclic antidepressants: an update

  • Lars F. Gram
  • P. Kragh-Sørensen


The research on pharmacokinetics of tricyclic antidepressants (TCA) has developed in two phases. Through the 1960s the bulk of research was concentrated on qualitative aspects of distribution, metabolism and excretion. By the introduction of methods for drug concentration assay in human blood in the early and mid-1970s, the research has concentrated on quantitative aspects of TCA kinetics and the difficult field of relating clinical pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamic and therapeutic measurements. In the 1980s a major challenge will be to combine the kinetic/therapeutic relationships to a multiaxial diagnostic system that takes both clinical and biological classification procedures into account. This seems to be the most precise way to improve our diagnostic procedures toward a better identification of those patients that are genuinely responsive to treatment with antidepressants. Further research on factors influencing the kinetics of antidepressants, and kinetic research on the newer antidepressants, is also needed.


Antidepressive Effect Steady State Kinetic Endogenous Depression Plasma Level Measurement Plasma Level Monitoring 
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Copyright information

© The contributors 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lars F. Gram
    • 1
  • P. Kragh-Sørensen
    • 1
  1. 1.Departments of Clinical Pharmacology and PsychiatryOdense UniversityOdense CDenmark

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