A Lack of Systemic Absorption Following the Repeated Application of Topical Quetiapine in Healthy Adults

Bryce Kayhart, Maria I. Lapid, Sarah Nelson, Julie L. Cunningham, Virginia H. Thompson, Jonathan G. Leung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


In the absence of suitable oral or intravenous access for medication administration and when the intramuscular medications are undesirable, alternative routes for drug delivery may be considered. Antipsychotics administered via an inhaled, intranasal, rectal, or topical route have been described in the literature. Topically administered antipsychotics have been previously reported to produce negligible systemic absorption despite being used in clinical practice for nausea and behavioral symptoms associated with dementia. Additionally, the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine recommends against the use of topical medications that lack supporting literature. Three studies have assessed the systemic absorption of different antipsychotics after administration of only a single, topically applied dose. To evaluate whether the repeated administration of a topically applied antipsychotic may result in detectable serum levels in an accumulating fashion, a pharmacokinetic study was conducted. Five healthy, adult participants consented to receive extemporaneously prepared topical quetiapine in Lipoderm every 4 hours for a total of 5 doses. Blood samples were drawn at baseline and hours 2, 4, 8, 12, 16, and 24, and serum quetiapine concentrations were measured using high-performance liquid chromatography. Quetiapine was undetectable in every sample from 3 participants. Two participants had minimally detectable serum quetiapine levels no sooner than hour 12 of the study period. Extemporaneously prepared quetiapine in Lipoderm resulted in nonexistent or minimal serum level following repeated topical administration. The use of topically applied quetiapine should still be questioned.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1076-1080
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2018


  • antipsychotics
  • behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia
  • palliative care
  • pharmacokinetics
  • quetiapine
  • topical

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'A Lack of Systemic Absorption Following the Repeated Application of Topical Quetiapine in Healthy Adults'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this