Opipramol is typically used in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Its anxiolysis becomes prominent after only one to two weeks of chronic administration. Upon first commencing treatment, opipramol is rather sedating in nature due to its antihistamine properties, but this effect becomes less prominent with time.
Experimental animal studies did not indicate injurious effects of opipramol on the embryonic development or the fertility. Opipramol should be prescribed during pregnancy, particularly in the first trimester, only for compelling indication. Opipramol should not be used during lactation period, since the active ingredient passes into the milk in small quantities. At compelling indication it is to be ablactated.
Opipramol acts as a high affinitysigma receptoragonist, primarily at the σ1 subtype, but also at the σ2 subtype with somewhat lower affinity. It is this property which is responsible for its therapeutic benefits against anxiety and depression. Opipramol also acts as a low to moderate affinity antagonist for the D2, 5-HT2, H1, H2, and muscarinic acetylcholine receptors. H1 and H2 receptor antagonism account for its antihistamine effects, and muscarinic acetylcholine receptor antagonism is responsible for its anticholinergic properties. Sigma receptors as a set of proteins located in the endoplasmic reticulum, σ1 receptors play key role in potentiating intracellular calcium mobilization thereby acting as sensor or modulator of calcium signalling. Occupancy of σ1 receptors by agonists causes translocation of the receptor from endoplasmic reticulum to peripheral areas (membranes) where the σ1 receptors and neurotransmitter release. The biphasic action initially makes prompt improvement of tension, anxiety and insomnia. Opipramol is a tranquilizer with a thymoleptic component. After sub-chronic treatment, opipramol is significantly down-regulated to σ2 but not σ1 sites.
Opipramol is rapidly and completely absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract. Its terminal plasma half life is 6-11 hours. After single oral administration of 50 mg, the peak plasma concentration of the drug is reached after 3.3 hours and amounts to 15.6 ng/ml. After single oral administration of 100 mg the maximum plasma concentration is reached after 3 hours and amounts to 33.2 ng/ml. The bioavailability of opipramol amounts to 94%. The plasma protein binding amounts to approximately 91% and the volume distribution is approximately 10 L/kg. Opipramol is partially metabolized in liver as deshydroxy ethyl-opipramol. Metabolization occurs through CYP2D6-isoenzyme. Elimination is 70% renally and 10% unaltered. Remaining portion is eliminated through faeces.
The frequently (≥1% to <10%) reported adverse reactions with opipramol especially at the beginning of the treatment includes fatigue, dry mouth, blocked nose, hypotension and orthostatic dysregulation.
Symptoms of intoxications includes drowsiness, insomnia, stupor, agitation, coma, transient confusion, increased axiety, ataxia, convulsions, oligouria, anuria, tachycardia or bradycardia, arrhythmia, AV block, hypotension, shock, respiratory depression, rarely, cardiac arrest.
As therapy of intoxication, specific antidote is not available, removal of the drug by vomiting or gastric lavage should be done. Continuous cardiovascular monitoring for at least 48 hours should be done. In case of respiratory failure due to overdose, intubation and artificial respiration should be done. During severe hypotension due to overdose, corresponding recumbent positioning, plasma expander, dopamine or dobutamine as drops-infusion should be initiated. In heart rhythm disturbances, individualized treatment should be done where appropriate pacemaker and compensation in low potassium levels and possible acidosis should be done. While in convulsions due to overdose, administration of intravenous diazepam or another anti-convulsant agent such as phenobarbital or paraldehyde should be done though intensification of existing respiratory insufficiency, hypotension or coma may happen.
The therapy with Opipramol indictates an additional therapy with neuroleptics, hypnotics and tranquilizers (eg. Barbituarates, Benzodiapines). Thereby it should be noted that some specific reactions, particularly central-subduing effects could be intensified and an intensification of common side effects may occur. If necessary the dosage may be reduced. Co-administration with alcohol can cause stupor. MAO Inhibitors should be discontinued at least 14 days before the treatment with opipramol. Concomitant use of Opipramol with β-blockers, antiarrhythmics (of class 1c), as well as drugs from tricyclic antidepressants group and preparations which influence the microsomal enzyme system, can lead to change in plasma concentration of these drugs. Co-administration of neuroleptics (example- haloperidol, risperidone) can increase the plasma concentration. Barbituarates and anti-convulsants can reduce the plasma concentration of Opipramol and thereby weaken the therapeutic effect.
^ abcdMüller WE, Siebert B, Holoubek G, Gentsch C (November 2004). "Neuropharmacology of the anxiolytic drug opipramol, a sigma site ligand". Pharmacopsychiatry37 (Suppl 3): S189–197. doi:10.1055/s-2004-832677. PMID15547785.