Plasma levels of protriptyline have been determined in 30 patients undergoing antidepressant therapy. After 3 1/2 weeks treatment at dosage levels of 40 mg/day, protriptyline plasma levels ranged from 430 to 1430 nmol/l. During this period only two-thirds of the subjects had definitely achieved asymptotic concentrations. Single dose studies in 5 volunteers suggest that the volume of distribution of protriptyline shows little intersubject variation. The half life of the drug, however, may vary appreciably from subject to subject, ranging from 54 to 198 h. The effects of two sedatives on mean protriptyline plasma levels have been determined. Mean plasma levels for nitrazepam recipients are indistinguishable from those for patients receiving no night sedation. The mean plasma levels for a group of patients receiving sodium amylobarbitone were significantly reduced. The problems of choice and early adjustment of dosages in order to achieve satisfactory plasma levels is discussed. For practical purposes it is suggested that early values may be of predictive significance in allowing early dosage adjustments to be made.
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