Comparative Plasma and Cerebrospinal Fluid Pharmacokinetics of Paracetamol After Intravenous and Oral Administration

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Abstract

BACKGROUND:

We compared plasma and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pharmacokinetics of paracetamol after intravenous (IV) and oral administration to determine dosing regimens that optimize CSF concentrations.

METHODS:

Twenty-one adult patients were assigned randomly to 1 g IV, 1 g oral or 1.5 g oral paracetamol. An IV cannula and lumbar intrathecal catheter were used to sample venous blood and CSF, respectively, over 6 hours. The plasma and CSF maximum concentrations (Cmax), times to maximum concentrations (Tmax), and area under the plasma and CSF concentration-time curves (AUCs) were calculated using noncompartmental techniques. Significance was defined by P < .0167 (Bonferroni correction for 3 comparisons for each parameter). Probability (X < Y) (p″) with Bonferroni corrected 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated (CIs including 0.5 meet the null hypothesis). Results are presented as median (range) or p″ (CI). P values are listed as 1 g IV vs 1 g orally, 1 g IV vs 1.5 g orally and 1 g orally vs 1.5 g orally, respectively.

RESULTS:

Wide variation in measured paracetamol concentrations was observed, especially in the oral groups. The median plasma Cmax in the 1 g IV group was significantly greater than the oral groups. In contrast, the median CSF Cmax was not different between groups. The median plasma Tmax in the 1 g IV group was 105 and 75 minutes earlier than in the 1 and 1.5 g oral groups. The median CSF Tmax was not significantly different between groups. The median plasma AUC (total) was not significantly different between groups; however, in the first hour, the median plasma AUC was significantly greater in the IV group than in the oral groups. In the second hour, there was no difference between groups. The median CSF AUC (total) did not significantly differ between groups; however, in the first hour, the median CSF AUC was significantly greater in the IV compared with the orally groups. In the second hour, there was no difference between groups. Our analysis indicated that the median Cmax, Tmax, and AUC values lacked precision because of small sample sizes.

CONCLUSIONS:

Peak plasma concentrations were greater and reached earlier after IV than oral dosing. Evidence for differences in CSF Cmax and Tmax was lacking because of the small size of this study.

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