False-positive Serum Tricyclic Antidepressant Concentrations Using Fluorescence Polarization Immunoassay Due to the Presence of Hydroxyzine and Cetirizine

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A recent report indicates that hydroxyzine and its active metabolite cetirizine interfere with the PENTINA carbamazepine assay. The potential interference of hydroxyzine and cetirizine with the fluorescence polarization immunoassay (FPIA) and CEDIA assay of carbamazepine as well as with the fluorescence polarization immunoassay of tricyclic antidepressants (TCA) was studied. Aliquots of drug-free serum pools were supplemented with various concentrations of hydroxyzine and cetirizine representing therapeutic, mild to moderate toxic as well as very toxic concentrations. Then apparent carbamazepine and TCA concentrations were measured by immunoassays. Although no interference of hydroxyzine and cetirizine was observed with carbamazepine assays (FPIA and CEDIA), significant apparent TCA concentrations were observed when aliquots of drug-free serum were supplemented with hydroxyzine or cetirizine. Mathematical formula was devised to predict hydroxyzine and/or cetirizine concentration in serum based on observed apparent TCA levels. Hydroxyzine and cetirizine also falsely increased total TCA values when aliquots of serum pool prepared from patients receiving TCA were further supplemented with these drugs. In conclusion, hydroxyzine and cetirizine do not interfere with the FPIA and CEDIA carbamazepine assays but interfere with the measurement of total TCA using the FPIA.

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