Fluoxetine pharmacokinetics and effect on CYP2C19 in young and elderly volunteers

J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2001 Apr;21(2):161-6. doi: 10.1097/00004714-200104000-00007.


The objective of this study was to assess in both young and elderly volunteers the pharmacokinetics of fluoxetine and norfluoxetine and effects on cytochrome P450 (CYP) 2C19. Male volunteers aged 18 to 40 years (N = 14) or older than 65 years (N = 16) received fluoxetine 20 mg/day for 6 weeks and fluoxetine 40 mg/day for an additional 6 weeks. Blood was drawn over a 24-hour period after the initial dose and after 6 weeks and 12 weeks to determine AUC0-24, Cmax, and tmax; weekly to evaluate predose levels (C0); and over a 3-week period after discontinuation to evaluate washout (t1/2). Mephenytoin was used to assess CYP2C19 activity before and after 6 weeks and 12 weeks of fluoxetine. Fluoxetine AUC0-24, C0, and Cmax did not differ in young and elderly subjects. The norfluoxetine C0 was 22% lower in elderly subjects (p < .05), with comparable decreases in AUC0-24 and Cmax. In the elderly volunteers, the t1/2 for fluoxetine was 25% longer (5.0 vs. 4.0 days) and for norfluoxetine was 33% longer (20 vs. 15 days), although variability and sample size precluded statistical significance. Fluoxetine dosing inhibited CYP2C19 activity in both age groups, increasing the (S)- to (R)-mephenytoin ratio 3- to 4-fold (p < .01). The half-lives of fluoxetine and norfluoxetine at 40 mg/day were longer than commonly reported in the literature and may be longer in elderly subjects. Fluoxetine substantially inhibited the metabolism of the CYP2C19 substrate (S)-mephenytoin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Area Under Curve
  • Aryl Hydrocarbon Hydroxylases*
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2C19
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / drug effects*
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / urine
  • Fluoxetine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Fluoxetine / blood*
  • Fluoxetine / pharmacokinetics
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mixed Function Oxygenases / drug effects*
  • Mixed Function Oxygenases / urine
  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors / blood*
  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors / pharmacokinetics


  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors
  • Fluoxetine
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System
  • Mixed Function Oxygenases
  • Aryl Hydrocarbon Hydroxylases
  • CYP2C19 protein, human
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2C19
  • norfluoxetine