Ascendin - General Information

The N-demethylated derivative of the antipsychotic agent loxapine that works by blocking the reuptake of norepinephrine, serotonin, or both. It also blocks dopamine receptors.


Pharmacology of Ascendin

Ascendin is a tricyclic antidepressant of the dibenzoxazepine class, chemically distinct from the dibenzodiazepines, dibenzocycloheptenes, and dibenzoxepines. It has a mild sedative component to its action. The mechanism of its clinical action in man is not well understood. In animals, amoxapine reduced the uptake of nor-epinephirine and serotonin and blocked the response of dopamine receptors to dopamine Ascendin is not a monoamine oxidase inhibitor. Clinical studies have demonstrated that amoxapine has a more rapid onset of action than either amitriptyline or imipramine


Ascendin for patients

Given the likelihood that some patients exposed chronically to neuroleptics will develop tardive dyskinesia, it is advised that all patients in whom chronic use is contemplated be given, if possible, full information about this risk. The decision to inform patients and/or their guardians must obviously take into account the clinical circumstances and the competency of the patient to understand the information provided.

Patients should be warned of the possibility of drowsiness that may impair performance of potentially hazardous tasks such as driving an automobile or operating machinery.


Ascendin Interactions

Paralytic ileus may occur in patients taking tricyclic antidepressants in combination with anticholinergic drugs. Amoxapine may enhance the response to alcohol and the effects of barbiturates and other CNS depressants. Serum levels of several tricyclic antidepressants have been reported to be significantly increased when cimetidine is administered concurrently Although such an interaction has not been reported to date with amoxapine, specific interaction studies have not been done, and the possibility should be considered.
Drugs Metabolized by P450 2D6
The biochemical activity of the drug metabolizing isozyme cytochrome P450 2D6 (dehrisoquin hydroxylase) is reduced in a subset of the caucasian population (about 7 to 10% of caucasians are so called of reduced P450 2D6 isozyme activity among p.o. metabolizers); reliable estimates of the prevalence Asian, African and other populatlons are not yet available when given usual doses. Poor metabolizers have higher than expected plasma concentrations tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) when given usual doses. Depending on the fraction of drug metabolized by P450 2D6, the increase in plasma concentration may be small, or quite large (8 fold increase in plasma AUC of the TCA).
In addition certain drugs inhibit the activity of this isozyme and make normal metabolizers resemble p.o. metabolizers. An individual who is stable on a given dose of TCA may become abruptly toxic when given one of these inhibiting drugs as concomitant therapy. The drugs that inhibit cytochrome P450 2D6 include some that are not metabolized by the enzymes quinidine, cimetidine, and many that are substrates for P450 2D6 (many other antidepressants, phenothiazines, and the Type 1C antiarrhythmics propafenone and flecainide). While all the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRls), e.g. fluoxetine, sertraline, and paroxetine inhibit P450 2D6, they may vary in the extent of inhibition. The extent to which SSRI-TCA interactions may pose clinical problems will depend on the degree of inhibition and the pharmacokmetics of the SSRI involved. Nevertheless, caution is indicated in the co-administration of TCA's with any of the SSRI's and also in switching from one class to the other of particular importance. Sufficient time must elapse before initiating TCA treatment in a patient being withdrawn from fluoxetine given. The long half-life of the parent and active metabolite (at least 5 weeks may be necessary).
Concomitant use of tricyclic antidepressants with drugs that can inhibit cytochrome P450 2D6 may require lower doses than usually prescribed for either the tricyclic antidepressant or the other drug. Furthermore, whenever one of these other drugs is withdrawn from co-therapy, an increased dose of tricyclic antidepressant may be required. It is desirable to monitor TCA plasma levels whenever a TCA is going to be co-administered with another drug known to be an inhibitor of P450 2D6.
Therapeutic Interactions
Concurrent administration with electroshock therapy may increase the hazards associated with such therapy.


Ascendin Contraindications

Amoxapine tablets are contraindicated in patients who have shown prior hypersensitivity to dibenzoxazepine compounds. It should not be given concomitantly with monoamine oxidase inhibitors. Hyperpyretic crises, severe convulsions, and deaths have occurred in patients receiving tricyclic antidepressants and monoamine oxidase inhibitors simultaneous. When it is desired to replace monoamine oxidase inhibitor with amoxapine, a minimum of 14 days should be allowed to elapse after the former is discontinued. Amoxapine should then be initiated cautiously with gradual increase in dosage until optimum response is achieved. The drug is not recommended for use during the acute recovery phase following myocardial infarction.

The need for continued treatment should be reassessed periodically.

If signs and symptoms of tardive dyskinesia appear in a patient on neuroleptic drugs, discontinuation should be considered. However, some patients may require treatment despite the presence of the syndrome.

(For further information about the description of tardive dyskinesia and its clinical detection, please refer to the sections on PATIENT INFORMATON and ADVERSE REACTIONS.)

Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS):

A potentially fatal symptom complex sometimes referred to as Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS) has been has been reported in association with antipsychotic drugs and with amoxapine. Clinical manifestations of NMS are hyperpyrexia, muscle rigidity, altered mental status and evidence of autonomic instability (irregular pulse or blood pressure, tachycardia, diaphoresis, and cardiac dysrhythmias).

The diagnostic evaluation of patients with this syndrome is complicated. In arriving at a diagnosis, it is important to identify cases where the clinical presentation includes both serious medical illness (eg.,pneumonia, systemic infection, etc.) and untreated or inadequately treated extrapyramidal signs and symptoms (EPS).Other important considerations in the differential diagnosis include central anticholinergic toxicity, heat stroke, drug fever and primary central nervous System (CNS) pathology.

The management of NMS should and primary central nervous System (CNS) include;

  1. Immediate discontinuation of antipsychotic drugs and other drugs not essential to concurrent therapy.
  2. Intensive symptomatic treatment and medical monitoring.
  3. Treatment of any concomitant serious medical problems for which specific treatments are available.

There is no general agreement about specific pharmacological treatment regimens for uncomplicated NMS.

If a patient requires antipsychotic drug treatment after recovery from NMS, the potential reintroduction of the drug thereafter should be carefully considered. The patient should be carefully monitored, since recurrences of NMS have been reported.

Amoxapine should be used with caution in patients with a history of urinary retention, angle-closure glaucoma or increased intraocular pressure. Patients with cardiovascular disorders should be watched closely. Tricyclic antidepressant drugs, particularly when given in high doses, can induce sinus tachycardia, changes in conduction time, and arrhythmias. Myocardial infarction and stroke have been reported with drugs of this class.

Extreme caution should be used in treating patients with a history of convulsive disorder or those with overt or latent seizure disorders


Additional information about Ascendin

Ascendin Indication: For the relief of symptoms of depression in patients with neurotic or reactive depressive disorders as well as endogenous and psychotic depressions. Also for depression accompanied by anxiety or agitation.
Mechanism Of Action: Ascendin acts by decreasing the reuptake of norepinephrine and serotonin (5-HT).
Drug Interactions: Altretamine Risk of severe hypotension
Atazanavir Atazanavir increases the efect and toxicity of tricyclics
Cimetidine Cimetidine increases the effect of tricyclic agent
Cisapride Increased risk of cardiotoxicity and arrhythmias
Clonidine The tricyclic decreases the effect of clonidine
Dobutamine The tricyclic increases the sympathomimetic effect
Donepezil Possible antagonism of action
Dopamine The tricyclic increases the sympathomimetic effect
Epinephrine The tricyclic increases the sympathomimetic effect
Fenoterol The tricyclic increases the sympathomimetic effect
Fluoxetine Fluoxetine increases the effect and toxicity of tricyclics
Fluvoxamine Fluvoxamine increases the effect and toxicity of tricyclics
Galantamine Possible antagonism of action
Grepafloxacin Increased risk of cardiotoxicity and arrhythmias
Guanethidine The tricyclic decreases the effect of guanethidine
Isocarboxazid Possibility of severe adverse effects
Isoproterenol The tricyclic increases the sympathomimetic effect
Metaraminol The tricyclic increases the sympathomimetic effect
Methoxamine The tricyclic increases the sympathomimetic effect
Moclobemide Possible severe adverse reaction with this combination
Norepinephrine The tricyclic increases the sympathomimetic effect
Orciprenaline The tricyclic increases the sympathomimetic effect
Phenelzine Possibility of severe adverse effects
Phenylephrine The tricyclic increases the sympathomimetic effect
Phenylpropanolamine The tricyclic increases the sympathomimetic effect
Pirbuterol The tricyclic increases the sympathomimetic effect
Pseudoephedrine The tricyclic increases the sympathomimetic effect
Rifabutin The rifamycin decreases the effect of tricyclics
Rifampin The rifamycin decreases the effect of tricyclics
Ritonavir Ritonavir increases the effect and toxicity of tricyclics
Rivastigmine Possible antagonism of action
Sibutramine Increased risk of CNS adverse effects
Sparfloxacin Increased risk of cardiotoxicity and arrhythmias
Terbutaline The tricyclic increases the sympathomimetic effect
Terfenadine Increased risk of cardiotoxicity and arrhythmias
Tranylcypromine Possibility of severe adverse effects
Ephedra The tricyclic increases the sympathomimetic effect
Ephedrine The tricyclic increases the sympathomimetic effect
Mephentermine The tricyclic increases the sympathomimetic effect
Procaterol The tricyclic increases the sympathomimetic effect
Salbutamol The tricyclic increases the sympathomimetic effect
Rasagiline Possibility of severe adverse effects
Food Interactions: Take with food to reduce irritation.
Avoid alcohol.
Generic Name: Amoxapine
Synonyms: Amoxepine
Drug Category: Adrenergic Uptake Inhibitors; Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation; Dopamine Antagonists; Neurotransmitter Uptake Inhibitors; Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors
Drug Type: Small Molecule; Approved
Other Brand Names containing Amoxapine: Ascendin; Asendis; Defanyl; Demolox; Moxadil;
Absorption: Absorbed rapidly and reaches peak blood levels approximately 90 minutes after ingestion
Toxicity (Overdose): Toxic manifestations of amoxapine overdosage differ significantly from those of other tricyclic antidepressants. Serious cardiovascular effects are seldom if ever observed. However, CNS effects, particularly grand mal convulsions, occur frequently, and treatment should be directed primarily toward prevention or control of seizures. Status epilepticus may develop and constitutes a neurologic emergency. Coma and acidosis are other serious complications of substantial amoxapine overdosage in some cases. Renal failure may develop two to five days after toxic overdose in patients who may appear otherwise recovered. Acute tubular necrosis with rhabdomuolysis and myolobinurla is the most common renal complication in such cases. This reaction probably occurs in less than 5% of overdose cases, and typically in those who have experienced multiple seizures.
Protein Binding: In vitro tests show that amoxapine binding to human serum is approximately 90%.
Biotransformation: Amoxapine is almost completely metabolized, producing the major metabolite 8-hydroxyamoxapine.
Half Life: 8 hours
Dosage Forms of Ascendin: Tablet Oral
Chemical IUPAC Name: 8-chloro-6-piperazin-1-ylbenzo[b][1,5]benzoxazepine
Chemical Formula: C17H16ClN3O
Amoxapine on Wikipedia:
Organisms Affected: Humans and other mammals