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May 1979

Blood Levels of Neuroleptic Drugs in Nonresponding Chronic Schizophrenic Patients

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Psychiatry, University of Chicago (Drs Smith, Crayton, Dekirmenjian, and Davis) and Manteno (Ill) Mental Health Center (Drs Smith, Crayton, and Klass); and the Illinois State Psychiatric Institute, Chicago (Drs Davis and Dekirmenjian). Dr Smith is now chief, Section of Behavioral Neurochemistry, Texas Research Institute of Mental Sciences, Houston.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1979;36(5):579-584. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1979.01780050089011

• Blood levels of butaperazine were measured in scmzophrenic patients who were chronic nonresponders to their psychotropic medication. The blood levels were compared with those in patients who had shown a better clinical response to this neuroleptic. Nonresponders had two to seven times lower levels of butaperazine in plasma and RBCs after a single dose or chronic dosing. Some of the patients later treated with thioridazine or haloperidol had lower plasma levels of these neuroleptics also. No significant differences were found between nonresponders and relative responders in either the a- or ;,2;-phase half-life of butaperazine in plasma and RBCs after administration of a single dose of the drug. Butaperazine and thioridazine levels were not related to previously administered amounts of neuroleptic drugs. These findings do not support the hypothesis that low blood levels are the result of faster systemic metabolism of the drug after it reaches the central circulation. Our results suggest that low blood levels of neuroleptics may be one important factor in the poor clinical response of some chronic schizophrenic patients.

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