Pharmacodynamic properties

Amisulpride binds selectively with a high affinity to human dopaminergic D2/D3 receptor subtypes whereas it is devoid of affinity for D1, D4 and D5 receptor subtypes.

Unlike classical and atypical neuroleptics, amisulpride has no affinity for serotonin, PROPORTIONAL TO (8733)-adrenergic, histamine H1 and cholinergic receptors. In addition, amisulpride does not bind to sigma sites.

In animal studies, at high doses, amisulpride blocks dopamine receptors located in the limbic structures in preference to those in the striatum.

At low doses it preferentially blocks pre-synaptic D2/D3 receptors, producing dopamine release responsible for its disinhibitory effects.

This pharmacological profile explains the clinical efficacy of amisulpride against both negative and positive symptoms of schizophrenia.

Pharmacokinetic properties

In man, amisulpride shows two absorption peaks: one which is attained rapidly, one hour post-dose and a second between 3 and 4 hours after administration. Corresponding plasma concentrations are 39 ± 3 and 54 ± 4 ng/ml after a 50 mg dose.

The volume of distribution is 5.8 l/kg, plasma protein binding is low (16%) and no drug interactions are suspected.

Absolute bioavailability is 48%. Amisulpride is weakly metabolised: two inactive metabolites, accounting for approximately 4% of the dose, have been identified. There is no accumulation of amisulpride and its pharmacokinetics remain unchanged after the administration of repeated doses. The elimination half-life of amisulpride is approximately 12 hours after an oral dose.

Amisulpride is eliminated unchanged in the urine. Fifty percent of an intravenous dose is excreted via the urine, of which 90% is eliminated in the first 24 hours. Renal clearance is in the order of 20 l/h or 330 ml/min.

A carbohydrate rich meal (containing 68% fluids) significantly decreases the AUCs, Tmax and Cmax of amisulpride but no changes were seen after a high fat meal. However, the significance of these findings in routine clinical use is not known.

Hepatic insufficiency

Since the drug is weakly metabolised a dosage reduction should not be necessary in patients with hepatic insufficiency.

Renal insufficiency

The elimination half-life is unchanged in patients with renal insufficiency while systemic clearance is reduced by a factor of 2.5–3. The AUC of amisulpride in mild renal failure increased two fold and almost tenfold in moderate renal failure. Experience is however limited and there is no data with doses greater than 50 mg.

Amisulpride is very weakly dialysed.

Limited pharmacokinetic data in elderly subjects (>65 years) show that a 10–30% rise occurs in Cmax, T1/2 and AUC after a single oral dose of 50 mg. No data are available after repeat dosing.

Preclinical safety data

An overall review of the completed safety studies indicates that amisulpride is devoid of any general, organ-specific, teratogenic, mutagenic or carcinogenic risk. Changes observed in rats and dogs at doses below the maximum tolerated dose are either pharmacological effects or are devoid of major toxicological significance under these conditions. Compared with the maximum recommended dosages in man, maximum tolerated doses are 2 and 7 times greater in the rat (200 mg/kg/d) and dog (120 mg/kg/d) respectively in terms of AUC. No carcinogenic risk, relevant to man, was identified in the rat at up to 1.5–4.5 times the expected human AUC.

A mouse carcinogenicity study (120 mg/kg/d) and reproductive studies (160, 300 and 500 mg/kg/d respectively in rat, rabbit and mouse) were performed. The exposure of the animals to amisulpride during these latter studies was not evaluated.

In animal trials, amisulpride elicited an effect on foetal growth and development at doses corresponding to Human Equivalent Dose of 2000 mg/day and upwards for a 50-kg patient. There was no evidence for a teratogenic potential of amisulpride. Studies on the impact of amisulpride on the behavior of the offspring have not been conducted.

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