Population Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics of Dexmedetomidine in Children Undergoing Ambulatory Surgery

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Dexmedetomidine (DEX) is an α-2 adrenergic agonist with sedative and analgesic properties. Although not approved for pediatric use by the Food and Drug Administration, DEX is increasingly used in pediatric anesthesia and critical care. However, very limited information is available regarding the pharmacokinetics of DEX in children. The aim of this study was to investigate DEX pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics (PK–PD) in Mexican children 2–18 years of age who were undergoing outpatient surgical procedures.


Thirty children 2–18 years of age with American Society of Anesthesiologists physical status score of I/II were enrolled in this study. DEX (0.7 μg/kg) was administered as a single-dose intravenous infusion. Venous blood samples were collected, and plasma DEX concentrations were analyzed with a combination of high-performance liquid chromatography and electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectrometry. Population PK–PD models were constructed using the Monolix program.


A 2-compartment model adequately described the concentration–time relationship. The parameters were standardized for a body weight of 70 kg by using an allometric model. Population parameters estimates were as follows: mean (between-subject variability): clearance (Cl) (L/h × 70 kg) = 20.8 (27%); central volume of distribution (V1) (L × 70 kg) = 21.9 (20%); peripheral volume of distribution (V2) (L × 70 kg) = 81.2 (21%); and intercompartmental clearance (Q) (L/h × 70 kg) = 75.8 (25%). The PK–PD model predicted a maximum mean arterial blood pressure reduction of 45% with an IC50 of 0.501 ng/ml, and a maximum heart rate reduction of 28.9% with an IC50 of 0.552 ng/ml.


Our results suggest that in Mexican children 2–18 years of age with American Society of Anesthesiologists score of I/II, the DEX dose should be adjusted in accordance with lower DEX clearance.

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