Metabolism and excretion of asenapine in healthy male subjects

Drug Metab Dispos. 2011 Apr;39(4):580-90. doi: 10.1124/dmd.110.036715. Epub 2010 Dec 22.


The metabolism and excretion of asenapine [(3aRS,12bRS)-5-chloro-2-methyl-2,3,3a,12b-tetrahydro-1H-dibenzo[2,3:6,7]-oxepino [4,5-c]pyrrole (2Z)-2-butenedioate (1:1)] were studied after sublingual administration of [(14)C]-asenapine to healthy male volunteers. Mean total excretion on the basis of the percent recovery of the total radioactive dose was ∼90%, with ∼50% appearing in urine and ∼40% excreted in feces; asenapine itself was detected only in feces. Metabolic profiles were determined in plasma, urine, and feces using high-performance liquid chromatography with radioactivity detection. Approximately 50% of drug-related material in human plasma was identified or quantified. The remaining circulating radioactivity corresponded to at least 15 very polar, minor peaks (mostly phase II products). Overall, >70% of circulating radioactivity was associated with conjugated metabolites. Major metabolic routes were direct glucuronidation and N-demethylation. The principal circulating metabolite was asenapine N(+)-glucuronide; other circulating metabolites were N-desmethylasenapine-N-carbamoyl-glucuronide, N-desmethylasenapine, and asenapine 11-O-sulfate. In addition to the parent compound, asenapine, the principal excretory metabolite was asenapine N(+)-glucuronide. Other excretory metabolites were N-desmethylasenapine-N-carbamoylglucuronide, 11-hydroxyasenapine followed by conjugation, 10,11-dihydroxy-N-desmethylasenapine, 10,11-dihydroxyasenapine followed by conjugation (several combinations of these routes were found) and N-formylasenapine in combination with several hydroxylations, and most probably asenapine N-oxide in combination with 10,11-hydroxylations followed by conjugations. In conclusion, asenapine was extensively and rapidly metabolized, resulting in several regio-isomeric hydroxylated and conjugated metabolites.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antipsychotic Agents / blood
  • Antipsychotic Agents / chemistry
  • Antipsychotic Agents / metabolism*
  • Antipsychotic Agents / urine
  • Area Under Curve
  • Glucuronides / analysis*
  • Glucuronides / metabolism
  • Heterocyclic Compounds, 4 or More Rings / blood
  • Heterocyclic Compounds, 4 or More Rings / chemistry
  • Heterocyclic Compounds, 4 or More Rings / metabolism*
  • Heterocyclic Compounds, 4 or More Rings / urine
  • Humans
  • Hydroxylation
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Radioligand Assay
  • Young Adult


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Glucuronides
  • Heterocyclic Compounds, 4 or More Rings
  • asenapine