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Dabigatran etexilate (BIBR 1048) is an orally bioavailable double prodrug of the active principle dabigatran (BIBR 953 ZW), which exerts potent anticoagulant and antithrombotic activity. The objective of the analysis was to develop a population pharmacokinetic model characterizing and quantifying the relationship between covariates and model parameters. A total of 4604 BIBR 953 ZW plasma concentrations, obtained from 287 patients after once-or twice-daily oral dosing for up to 10 days after surgery in the dose range 12.5, 25, 50, 100, 150, 200, and 300 mg BIBR 1048, were available for the analysis. All the analyses were performed with NONMEN V. Pharmacokinetics of dabigatran were best described by a 2-compartment model. The data supported the estimation of different apparent first-order absorption rate constants (ka) and apparent plasma clearances (CL/F) for days 0 and 1 and days 2 to 10 after surgery. Parameter estimates indicated a flip-flop phenomenon. Age and serum creatinine influenced ka, whereas gastrin and creatinine clearance, only for days 2 to 10, affected CL/F (P < .001). The typical values for CL/F for a patient with gastrin of 34.58 pmol/L and creatinine clearance of 76.16 mL/min were 70.87 and 106.2 L/h on days 0 and 1 and days 2 to 10, respectively. The differences found in the pharmacokinetics of dabigatran during the first 24 hours after surgery are most likely due to alterations in gastric motility and pH following surgery. As a consequence, the rate of absorption is reduced and interindividual variability in drug exposure increased. On the following days, the disposition in plasma of BIBR 953 ZW is less variable.