A Simple Approximation for Busulfan Dose Adjustment in Adult Patients Undergoing Bone Marrow Transplantation

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Busulfan is an alkylating agent used in preparative regimens before bone marrow transplantation (BMT). Busulfan concentrations in plasma, expressed as the area under the concentration–time curve (AUC), were reported to correlate with treatment outcome. Because busulfan is administered in 16 doses of 1 mg/kg every 6 hours for 4 days, the opportunities to “correct” the dose as a consequence of the measured AUC are limited to the 16-dosage protocol. In the present research busulfan pharmacokinetics were prospectively evaluated in 27 adult patients treated according to the above protocol by measuring the first, second, and fifth dose AUC. The pharmacokinetic analysis was based on a noncompartment model for extravascular absorption, but calculations according to a 1-compartment model gave similar results. A simple mathematical approximation allowed prediction of the AUC of the second dose from that of the first and the busulfan concentration at trough. Fifteen patients had the dose adjusted at the fourth dose to obtain an AUC within the “therapeutic window” of 950–1500 μM-min. This procedure was then validated by the measurement of the fifth dose AUC. It appears that this simple pocket calculator method allows a rapid evaluation of the need and the extent of dose adjustment and proved to be a valuable tool to improve busulfan administration in pre BMT treatment.

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