Disposition of bupropion in healthy volunteers and subjects with alcoholic liver disease

J Clin Psychopharmacol. 1990 Oct;10(5):328-32.


Bupropion hydrochloride is a new monocyclic antidepressant. In humans, its disposition results in the formation of three major metabolites: the morpholinol metabolite, the erythroamino alcohol, and the threoamino alcohol metabolite. Bupropion's disposition was monitored following a single oral 200 mg dose in eight healthy volunteers and eight age- (44.5 +/- 8.4 years) and weight- (77.4 +/- 6.7 kg) matched volunteers with alcoholic liver disease. This latter group is of interest because the incidence of depression is more frequent in alcoholics than in the general population, and the liver is the major route of elimination for cyclic antidepressants. The mean elimination half-life of the morpholinol metabolite was significantly prolonged in subjects with alcoholic liver disease (32.2 +/- 13.5 vs. 21.1 +/- 4.9 hours (p less than 0.05), while the differences in bupropion (17.3 +/- 8.6 hours vs. 16.5 +/- 10.4 hours for healthy subjects and subjects with alcoholic liver disease, respectively), erythroamino alcohol (26.1 +/- 13.3 hours vs. 29.8 +/- 6.9 hours for healthy subjects and subjects with alcoholic liver disease, respectively), and threoamino alcohol (25.5 +/- 8.6 hours vs. 23.4 +/- 10.7 hours for healthy subjects and subjects with alcoholic liver disease, respectively) were minimal. Mean area under the plasma concentration time curves for bupropion and metabolites were increased in subjects with alcoholic liver disease; however, clear differences between means of these small groups did not emerge, probably due to the increased variability of bupropion pharmacokinetics in these subjects. As a therapeutic agent for the treatment of depression in chronic alcoholics who may consume alcohol in combination with their antidepressant therapy, the lack of sedation with bupropion could be advantageous.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alanine Transaminase / blood
  • Alkaline Phosphatase / blood
  • Antidepressive Agents*
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases / blood
  • Bupropion
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Half-Life
  • Humans
  • L-Lactate Dehydrogenase / blood
  • Liver / enzymology
  • Liver Diseases, Alcoholic / blood*
  • Liver Function Tests
  • Male
  • Metabolic Clearance Rate / physiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Propiophenones / administration & dosage
  • Propiophenones / pharmacokinetics*


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Propiophenones
  • Bupropion
  • L-Lactate Dehydrogenase
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases
  • Alanine Transaminase
  • Alkaline Phosphatase