Pharmacokinetics and Efficacy of Epidurally Delivered Sustained-release Encapsulated Morphine in Dogs

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We evaluated the epidural effects of a multi-vesicular liposome-based sustained-release preparation of morphine (C0401) on behavior and lumbar cerebrospinal fluid and serum kinetics of morphine.


Beagle dogs were prepared with lumbar epidural catheters with subcutaneous injection ports and lumbar intrathecal catheters. Each dog (n = 6) received the following by the epidural route: 5 mg/3 ml morphine sulfate in saline (MS-5), 10 mg/3 ml C0401 (C0401–10), and 30 mg/3 ml C0401 (C0401–30). Behavioral and physiologic parameters and nociceptive responses (skin twitch latency) were evaluated, and morphine concentrations were determined in lumbar cerebrospinal fluid and serum.


All morphine treatments blocked the skin twitch response. Time to onset was 1.3 +/- 0.3 h for C0401–30; 2.6 +/- 0.6 h for C0401–10; and 0.4 +/- 0.2 h for MS-5. Duration of action was 62 +/- 0.3 h for C0401–30; 27 +/- 2 h for MS-5. All treatments produced a modest reduction in arousal, muscle tone, and coordination, with the duration of the C0401–30 preparation being longer lasting. Respiratory rate was mildly depressed by all treatments, and moderate hypotension was noted. Time to peak cerebrospinal fluid morphine concentration was 11 h for C0401–30; 3 h for C0401–10; and 5 min for MS-5. Peak lumbar cerebrospinal fluid level was 34,992 +/- 5,578 ng/ml for MS-5; 14,483 +/- 3,438 ng/ml for C0401–30; and 10,730 +/- 2,888 ng/ml for C0401–10. Morphine mean residence time in lumbar cerebrospinal fluid was 0.8 +/- 0.1 h for MS-5; 8.9 +/- 1.0 h for C0401–30.


Kinetics studies showed that multivesicular liposome sequestration results in a restrained and persistent release of morphine from the epidural space. This extended release corresponded with an extended duration of analgesia without an attendant increase in the incidence of side effects.

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