Pharmacopsychiatry 2011; 44(06): 236-248
DOI: 10.1055/s-0031-1286282
Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Therapeutic Plasma Concentrations of Antidepressants and Antipsychotics: Lessons from PET Imaging

G. Gründer
1   Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics, Medical Faculty, RWTH Aachen University; and JARA – Translational Brain Medicine, Aachen, Germany
C. Hiemke
2   Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University Medical Center of Mainz, Germany
M. Paulzen
1   Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics, Medical Faculty, RWTH Aachen University; and JARA – Translational Brain Medicine, Aachen, Germany
T. Veselinovic
1   Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics, Medical Faculty, RWTH Aachen University; and JARA – Translational Brain Medicine, Aachen, Germany
I. Vernaleken
1   Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics, Medical Faculty, RWTH Aachen University; and JARA – Translational Brain Medicine, Aachen, Germany
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

received 10 February 2011
revised 29 March 2011

accepted 13 May 2011

Publication Date:
28 September 2011 (online)


Therapeutic Drug Monitoring (TDM) of psychotropic drugs is strongly depending on the validity of recommended therapeutic plasma concentration reference ranges. Rational pharmacotherapy is based on the assumption that plasma concentrations are directly related to target occupancy by the respective drug. Here we show that positron emission tomography (PET) of molecular drug targets in the brain (neuroreceptors and transporters) allows for establishment of these relationships, thereby providing guidance for TDM services. Associations between brain target occupancy, plasma concentrations, and clinical effects and adverse reactions will be discussed for the most commonly used antidepressant and antipsychotic drugs.

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