Pharmacogenetic Factors Influence Escitalopram Pharmacokinetics and Adverse Events in Youth with a Family History of Bipolar Disorder: A Preliminary Study.

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DOI: 10.1089/cap.2023.0073


Introduction: Escitalopram is an effective and generally well-tolerated antidepressant, but children of parents with bipolar disorder (BD) may be at increased risk for adverse events associated with antidepressants, including increased irritability, restlessness, impulsivity, and manic symptoms. This risk may be influenced by polymorphisms in genes encoding cytochrome P450 enzymes (CYP2C19 or CYP2D6), the serotonin transporter (SLC6A4), and the serotonin receptor 2A subtype (HTR2A). We explored whether gene-drug interactions influence the emergence of adverse events in depressed and/or anxious youth with a family history of BD. Materials and Methods: Children and adolescents aged 12-17 years with a first-degree relative with bipolar I disorder were treated with escitalopram and monitored for adverse effects, underwent pharmacogenetic testing, and provided serum escitalopram levels. Emergence of adverse events was determined by study clinicians, and symptoms were tracked using the Treatment-Emergent Activation and Suicidality Assessment Profile (TEASAP) and Pediatric Adverse Events Rating Scale. Clinical Pharmacogenetics Implementation Consortium guidelines were used to determine CYP2C19 and CYP2D6 phenotypes. Results: Slower CYP2C19 metabolizers had greater dose-normalized 24-hour area under the curve (AUC0-24; p = 0.025), trough concentrations (Ctrough; p = 0.013), and elimination half-lives (t1/2; p < 0.001). CYP2D6 phenotype was not significantly associated with any pharmacokinetic parameter. Slower CYP2D6 metabolizers had increased TEASAP akathisia (p = 0.015) scores. HTR2A A/A and A/G genotypes were associated with increased TEASAP "self-injury, suicidality, and harm to others" subscale scores (p = 0.017). Escitalopram maximum concentration, AUC0-24, CYP2C19 phenotype, and SLC6A4 genotype were not associated with adverse events. Conclusions: CYP2C19 phenotype influences escitalopram pharmacokinetics whereas CYP2D6 phenotype does not. Slower CYP2D6 metabolism was associated with increased akathisia, and HTR2A A/A or A/G genotypes were associated with increased risk of self-harm or harm to others. Larger cohorts are needed to identify associations between genetic test results and antidepressant-associated adverse events. Trial Registration: identifier: NCT02553161.

Journal Title

Journal of child and adolescent psychopharmacology





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MeSH Keywords

Humans; Adolescent; Child; Citalopram; Escitalopram; Bipolar Disorder; Cytochrome P-450 CYP2C19; Cytochrome P-450 CYP2D6; Pharmacogenetics; Psychomotor Agitation; Antidepressive Agents; Genotype; Serotonin Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins


adolescent; anxiety; bipolar disorders; depression; escitalopram; pharmacogenetics

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