Oral kinetics of dexfenfluramine and dexnorfenfluramine in non-human primates

S. Caccia, A. Bergami, C. Fracasso, S. Garattini, B. Campbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


1. Large doses of dexfenfluramine in animals cause a decrease of serotoninergic markers but none of the species so far investigated shows sufficient kinetic and metabolic similarity with man to be a valid model for safety studies. The plasma kinetics of dexfenfluramine and its active metabolite dexnorfenfluramine were therefore studied in baboon, rhesus and cynomolgus monkeys given dexfenfluramine hydrochloride orally (2mg/kg) in order to investigate whether any of these primates have a biodisposition particularly similar to man. 2. The drug was rapidly N-deethylated to dexnorfenfluramine achieving comparatively low mean maximum plasma levels (Cmax) of 12-14 ng/ml in all primates, and rapidly disappeared thereafter with half-lives (t1/2) ranging from 2 to 3 h in the baboon and rhesus monkey to 6 h in the cynomolgus monkey. Its normetabolite reached higher mean Cmax (52-97 ng/ml) and the t1/2's were longer, varying from about 11 h in the rhesus monkey to 22h in the cynomolgus monkey. The metabolite-to-parent drug ratio (14-37), in terms of plasma area under curve (AUC), greatly exceeded that in man (max, producing nor-metabolite levels several times those in man, whilst for comparable metabolite Cmax, those of the parent drug would be correspondingly too low. 4. In view of the different mechanism of action of dexfenfluramine and dexnorfenfluramine within the serotoninergic system none of these primates is therefore a suitable model for safety assessment in terms of exposure of the active moieties in comparison with man.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1143-1150
Number of pages8
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Toxicology
  • Biochemistry
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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