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Biopharmaceutical Characterization, Metabolism, and Brain Penetration of the Triple Reuptake Inhibitor Amitifadine

[ Vol. 7 , Issue. 1 ]


Frank P. Bymaster, Piyun Chao, Heidi Schulze, Pierre V. Tran and Randall D. Marshall   Pages 23 - 33 ( 11 )


Amitifadine (EB-1010, formerly DOV 21,947) is a serotonin-preferring triple reuptake inhibitor that is a drug candidate for major depressive disorder. We investigated several relevant biopharmaceutic and drug-like characteristics of amitifadine using in vitro methodology and additionally determined the in vivo brain to plasma ratio of the drug in rats. Amitifadine was highly plasma protein bound with over 99% of drug bound to human plasma proteins. Using Caco-2 cell lines, amitifadine was bidirectionally highly permeable and showed no evidence of active secretion. Amitifadine was metabolized slowly by human hepatocytes and the major metabolite was the lactam EB-10101. In vitro studies using human liver microsomes demonstrated that EB-10101 was formed by monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A) and a NADPHdependent enzyme, possibly a cytochrome P450 (CYP) isoform. Amitifadine was a moderate inhibitor of the human isoforms of the major drug metabolizing enzymes CYP2D6, CYP3A4, CYP2C9, and CYP2C19 (IC50 = 9 - 100 μ M), but was a potent inhibitor of human CYP2B6 (IC50 = 1.8 μM). The brain to plasma ratio for amitifadine varied from 3.7 - 6.5 at various time points, indicating preferential partitioning into rat brain versus plasma. The low affinity for the major drug metabolizing CYP enzymes and metabolism by multiple pathways may reduce pharmacokinetic drug-drug interactions and effects of enzyme polymorphisms. Overall, these studies suggest that amitifadine has drug-like characteristics favorable for drug development.


Amitifadine, antidepressant, brain penetration, CYP P450, metabolism, plasma protein binding, triple reuptake inhibitor.


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