Nortriptyline plasma levels and therapeutic response

Vincent E. Ziegler, Paula J. Clayton, John R. Taylor, Bun Tee Co, John T. Biggs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

112 Scopus citations


Eighteen depressed outpatients were treated far 6 wk with a mean daily dose of 121 mg of nortriptyline. The mean plasma level was 138 ng/ml during treatment. Therapeutic response was monitored by the Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale and the Hamilton Depression Scale administered by two psychiatrists blind to the tricyclic used, dose, and plasma levels. Eight patients recovered (Hamilton ≤ 6) by the fourth week and 12 by the sixth week. During the steady-state (wk 4 to 6) there was a positive correlation between the weekly Hamilton scores and the weekly nortriptyline levels (p < 0.01). The 9 patients with mean plasma levels between 50 and 139 ng/ml had a better therapeutic response after 6 wk measured by percent recovered (p < 0.005), Zung score (p < 0.05), and Hamilton score (p < 0.025) than the 9 patients with mean plasma levels between 140 and 260 ng/ml.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)458-463
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1976


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