Clonazepam Pharmacokinetics: Comparison of Subcutaneous Microsphere Injection With Multiple-Dose Oral Administration

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Nine healthy volunteers participated in a 3-phase clinical pharmacokinetic study of the benzodiazepine derivative clonazepam. During phases I and II, subjects received the conventional oral dosage form of clonazepam, 0.5 mg 3 times daily, for 7 days. Multiple plasma samples were drawn on day 1 and day 7 of the trial and once daily during the washout period after the final dose. Based on nonlinear regression, mean kinetic variables for clonazepam were: absorption half-life, 24 minutes; elimination half-life, 40 hours; apparent oral clearance, 72 mL/min. The extent of accumulation at steady state relative to the first day of treatment averaged 3.3-fold, and was consistent with values predicted based on the elimination half-life. This finding suggests that once-daily dosage with clonazepam would be appropriate for many patients. In phase III of the study, subjects received a single 2.7 mg subcutaneous injection of a microsphere formulation of clonazepam, designed to produce a sustained-release profile. The maximum average plasma clonazepam concentration was 3.0 ng/mL, reached at 72 hours after dosage. Thereafter, plasma concentrations fell slowly over the 13-day sampling period, remaining above 1 ng/mL for 12 days. Overall systemic availability of clonazepam from the microsphere injection, relative to the conventional oral dosage form, was 1.05. Thus, the microsphere preparation of injectable clonazepam provides complete absorption from the injection site, with the intended slow-release pharmacokinetic profile.

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