Asenapine pharmacokinetics in hepatic and renal impairment

Clin Pharmacokinet. 2011 Jul;50(7):471-81. doi: 10.2165/11590490-000000000-00000.


Background and objective: The effects of hepatic or renal impairment on the pharmacokinetics of atypical antipsychotics are not well understood. Drug exposure may increase in patients with hepatic disease, owing to a reduction of certain metabolic enzymes. The objective of the present study was to study the effects of hepatic or renal impairment on the pharmacokinetics of asenapine and its N-desmethyl and N⁺-glucuronide metabolites.

Methods: Two clinical studies were performed to assess exposure to asenapine, desmethylasenapine and asenapine N⁺-glucuronide in subjects with hepatic or renal impairment. Pharmacokinetic parameters were determined from plasma concentration-time data, using standard noncompartmental methods. The pharmacokinetic variables that were studied included the maximum plasma concentration (C(max)) and the time to reach the maximum plasma concentration (t(max)). Eligible subjects, from inpatient and outpatient clinics, were aged ≥18 years with a body mass index of ≥18 kg/m² and ≤32 kg/m². Sublingual asenapine (Saphris®) was administered as a single 5 mg dose.

Results: Thirty subjects participated in the hepatic impairment study (normal hepatic function, n = 8; mild hepatic impairment [Child-Pugh class A], n = 8; moderate hepatic impairment [Child-Pugh class B], n = 8; severe hepatic impairment [Child-Pugh class C], n = 6). Thirty-three subjects were enrolled in the renal impairment study (normal renal function, n = 9; mild renal impairment, n = 8; moderate renal impairment, n = 8; severe renal impairment, n = 8). Asenapine and N-desmethylasenapine exposures were unaltered in subjects with mild or moderate hepatic impairment, compared with healthy controls. Severe hepatic impairment was associated with increased area under the plasma concentration-time curve from time zero to infinity (AUC(∞)) values for total asenapine, N-desmethylasenapine and asenapine N⁺-glucuronide (5-, 3-, and 2-fold, respectively), with slight increases in the C(max) of asenapine but 3- and 2-fold decreases in the C(max) values for N-desmethylasenapine and asenapine N⁺-glucuronide, respectively, compared with healthy controls. The mean AUC(∞) of unbound asenapine was more than 7-fold higher in subjects with severe hepatic impairment than in healthy controls. Mild renal impairment was associated with slight elevations in the AUC(∞) of asenapine compared with healthy controls; alterations observed with moderate and severe renal impairment were marginal. N-desmethylasenapine exposure was only slightly altered by renal impairment. No correlations were observed between exposure and creatinine clearance.

Conclusion: Severe hepatic impairment (Child-Pugh class C) was associated with pronounced increases in asenapine exposure, but significant increases were not seen with mild (Child-Pugh class A) or moderate (Child-Pugh class B) hepatic impairment, or with any degree of renal impairment. Asenapine is not recommended in patients with severe hepatic impairment; no dose adjustment is needed in patients with mild or moderate hepatic impairment, or in patients with renal impairment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antipsychotic Agents / adverse effects
  • Antipsychotic Agents / blood
  • Antipsychotic Agents / pharmacokinetics*
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Area Under Curve
  • Creatinine / metabolism
  • Drug Monitoring*
  • Female
  • Heterocyclic Compounds, 4 or More Rings / adverse effects
  • Heterocyclic Compounds, 4 or More Rings / blood
  • Heterocyclic Compounds, 4 or More Rings / pharmacokinetics*
  • Heterocyclic Compounds, 4 or More Rings / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Kidney
  • Liver
  • Liver Diseases / metabolism*
  • Liver Function Tests
  • Male
  • Renal Insufficiency / metabolism*


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