Olanzapine Plasma Concentrations and Clinical Response: Acute Phase Results of the North American Olanzapine Trial

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Olanzapine is an atypical antipsychotic that is effective in the treatment of schizophrenia. Olanzapine plasma concentrations ≥ 9.3 ng/mL (24 hours postdose) have been identified as a predictor of clinical response in acutely ill patients with schizophrenia. The authors report a receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis of 12-hour olanzapine concentrations and treatment response from the North American Double-Blind Olanzapine Trial. After a 4- to 7-day placebo lead-in, patients meeting DSM-III-R criteria for schizophrenia were randomly assigned to receive olanzapine, haloperidol, or placebo. Patients who were randomly assigned to receive olanzapine were given daily doses ranging from 2.5 to 17.5 mg/day for up to 6 weeks. Blood samples for the determination of olanzapine plasma concentrations were obtained between 10 and 16 hours (11.7 ± 1.7 hours) after the last dose was administered. Therapeutic response data and olanzapine concentrations used for analysis were obtained from the endpoint visit for each patient if the patient had been receiving a fixed olanzapine dose for at least the last 2 weeks of the study. Plasma concentrations from previous visits were used if endpoint concentrations were invalid. Response was defined as a ≥ 20% reduction in Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS) scores and a Clinical Global Impression (CGI) Severity scale score of ≤ 3 or a final BPRS score of ≤ 35. The final ROC analysis included data from 84 patients and suggested an olanzapine concentration ≥ 2 3.2 ng/mL to be a predictor of therapeutic response. Fifty-two percent of patients with 12-hour olanzapine concentrations ≥ 23.2 ng/mL responded, whereas only 25% of patients with concentrations <23.2 ng/mL responded. Furthermore, an olanzapine concentration ≥ 23.2 ng/mL was a predictor of response in the Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms (≥ 20% decrease and endpoint CGI ≤ 3). Olanzapine concentrations were found to be a function of olanzapine dose (in milligrams per day) and gender such that prospective olanzapine dosing is feasible. A 12-hour olanzapine plasma concentration of >23.2 ng/mL was a predictor of therapeutic response in acutely ill patients with schizophrenia. Males required a higher olanzapine dose to reach this threshold concentration than their female counterparts.

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