Pharmacokinetics of single oral doses of nortriptyline in depressed elderly hospital patients and young healthy volunteers

Clin Pharmacokinet. 1980 Jul-Aug;5(4):394-401. doi: 10.2165/00003088-198005040-00007.


A single oral dose of 75mg nortriptyline was given to a group of 20 depressed elderly patients in hospital. Subsequent plasma nortriptyline concentrations were used to calculate the half-life and clearance of the drug. These measurements were compared with those made previously in 17 healthy young volunteer subjects. Plasma nortriptyline half-life was longer and clearance slower (p < 0.002) in the elderly group than in the volunteers. There was no correlation of age with either of these parameters within the 2 groups, and no differences in nortriptyline pharmacokinetics could be detected between the male and female volunteer subjects. The possible reasons for these findings and their clinical consequences are discussed.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Depression / drug therapy*
  • Depression / metabolism
  • Female
  • Half-Life
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Male
  • Nortriptyline / administration & dosage
  • Nortriptyline / metabolism*
  • Nortriptyline / therapeutic use
  • Sex Factors


  • Nortriptyline