A Phase I, Two-center Study of the Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics of Dexmedetomidine in Children

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Background:To investigate dexmedetomidine in children, the authors performed an open-label study of the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of dexmedetomidine.Methods:Thirty-six children were assigned to three groups; 24 received dexmedetomidine and 12 received no drug. Three doses of dexmedetomidine, 2, 4, and 6 μg · kg−1 · h−1, were infused for 10 min. Cardiorespiratory responses and sedation were recorded for 24 h. Plasma concentrations of dexmedetomidine were collected for 24 h and analyzed. Pharmacokinetic variables were determined using nonlinear mixed effects modeling (NONMEM program). Cardiorespiratory responses were analyzed.Results:Thirty-six children completed the study. There was an apparent difference in the pharmacokinetics between Canadian and South African children. The derived volumes and clearances in the Canadian children were V1 = 0.81 l/kg, V2 = 1.0 l/kg, Cl1 (systemic clearance) = 0.013 l · kg−1 · min−1, Cl2 = 0.030 l · kg−1 · min−1. The intersubject variabilities for V1, V2, and Cl1 were 45%, 38%, and 22%, respectively. Plasma concentrations in South African children were 29% less than in Canadian children. The volumes and clearances in the South African children were 29% larger. The terminal half-life was 110 min (1.8 h). Median absolute prediction error for the two-compartment mammillary model was 18%. Heart rate and systolic blood pressure decreased with time and with increasing doses of dexmedetomidine. Respiratory rate and oxygen saturation (in air) were maintained. Sedation was transient.Conclusion:The pharmacokinetics of dexmedetomidine in children are predictable with a terminal half-life of 1.8 h. Hemodynamic responses decreased with increasing doses of dexmedetomidine. Respiratory responses were maintained, whereas sedation was transient.

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