Interactions and Monitoring of Antipsychotic Drugs

  • Christoph HiemkeEmail author
  • Bruno Pfuhlmann
Part of the Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology book series (HEP, volume 212)


As a consequence of individualized antipsychotic pharmacotherapy, many patients need more than a single drug, since they do not respond sufficiently to monotherapy. Other patients suffer from comorbid diseases and therefore require additional drugs from other pharmacological classes. Drug combinations, however, can give rise to pharmacokinetic and/or pharmacodynamic drug–drug interactions. Evaluation of pharmacokinetic interactions with antipsychotic drugs must consider substrate, inhibitor, and inducer properties for the cytochrome P450 (CYP) isoenzymes of all combined drugs. For consideration of pharmacodynamic interactions, special attention must be given to effects on dopamine D2, histamine H1, and acetylcholine M1 receptors and on cardiac potassium channels. Additive pharmacological actions of combined drugs on these target structures can induce adverse reactions such as extrapyramidal symptoms, drowsiness, metabolic disturbances leading to weight gain and cardiac problems, cognitive impairment, delirium, or ventricular arrhythmia. Measuring plasma concentrations, i.e., therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM), is valuable to adjust antipsychotic medication when drug combinations contain inhibitors or inducers that alter plasma concentrations of the antipsychotic drugs. Amalgamating the broad knowledge on drug–drug interactions and using appropriately the option to monitor plasma concentrations in blood will help to apply complex combination therapies with antipsychotic drugs with maximal efficiency and safety.


Drug–drug interactions Cytochrome P450 Therapeutic drug monitoring Plasma concentration Pharmacokinetics Pharmacodynamics 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and PsychotherapyUniversity Medical Center MainzMainzGermany
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and PsychosomaticsUniversity Hospital of WürzburgWürzburgGermany

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