Background and objective: Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is used recreationally and in clinical research. The aim of the present study was to characterize the pharmacokinetics and exposure-response relationship of oral LSD.
Methods: We analyzed pharmacokinetic data from two published placebo-controlled, double-blind, cross-over studies using oral administration of LSD 100 and 200 µg in 24 and 16 subjects, respectively. The pharmacokinetics of the 100-µg dose is shown for the first time and data for the 200-µg dose were reanalyzed and included. Plasma concentrations of LSD, subjective effects, and vital signs were repeatedly assessed. Pharmacokinetic parameters were determined using compartmental modeling. Concentration-effect relationships were described using pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic modeling.
Results: Geometric mean (95% confidence interval) maximum plasma concentration values of 1.3 (1.2-1.9) and 3.1 (2.6-4.0) ng/mL were reached 1.4 and 1.5 h after administration of 100 and 200 µg LSD, respectively. The plasma half-life was 2.6 h (2.2-3.4 h). The subjective effects lasted (mean ± standard deviation) 8.2 ± 2.1 and 11.6 ± 1.7 h for the 100- and 200-µg LSD doses, respectively. Subjective peak effects were reached 2.8 and 2.5 h after administration of LSD 100 and 200 µg, respectively. A close relationship was observed between the LSD concentration and subjective response within subjects, with moderate counterclockwise hysteresis. Half-maximal effective concentration values were in the range of 1 ng/mL. No correlations were found between plasma LSD concentrations and the effects of LSD across subjects at or near maximum plasma concentration and within dose groups.
Conclusions: The present pharmacokinetic data are important for the evaluation of clinical study findings (e.g., functional magnetic resonance imaging studies) and the interpretation of LSD intoxication. Oral LSD presented dose-proportional pharmacokinetics and first-order elimination up to 12 h. The effects of LSD were related to changes in plasma concentrations over time, with no evidence of acute tolerance.
Keywords: Autonomic Effect; Drug Effect; Lysergic Acid Diethylamide; Psilocybin; Subjective Effect.