Comparative pharmacokinetics between a microdose and therapeutic dose for clarithromycin, sumatriptan, propafenone, paracetamol (acetaminophen), and phenobarbital in human volunteers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • External authors:
  • Graham Lappin
  • Yoko Shishikura
  • Roeline Jochemsen
  • Richard John Weaver
  • Charlotte Gesson
  • Berend Oosterhuis
  • Ole J. Bjerrum
  • Grzegorz Grynkiewicz
  • Jane Alder
  • Malcolm Rowland
  • Colin Garner


A clinical study was conducted to assess the ability of a microdose (100 μg) to predict the human pharmacokinetics (PK) following a therapeutic dose of clarithromycin, sumatriptan, propafenone, paracetamol (acetaminophen) and phenobarbital, both within the study and by reference to the existing literature on these compounds and to explore the source of any nonlinearity if seen. For each drug, 6 healthy male volunteers were dosed with 100 μg 14C-labelled compound. For clarithromycin, sumatriptan, and propafenone this labelled dose was administered alone, i.e. as a microdose, orally and intravenously (iv) and as an iv tracer dose concomitantly with an oral non-labelled therapeutic dose, in a 3-way cross over design. The oral therapeutic doses were 250, 50, and 150 mg, respectively. Paracetamol was given as the labelled microdose orally and iv using a 2-way cross over design, whereas phenobarbital was given only as the microdose orally. Plasma concentrations of total 14C and parent drug were measured using accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) or HPLC followed by AMS. Plasma concentrations following non- 14C-labelled oral therapeutic doses were measured using either HPLC-electrochemical detection (clarithromycin) or HPLC-UV (sumatriptan, propafenone). For all five drugs an oral microdose predicted reasonably well the PK, including the shape of the plasma profile, following an oral therapeutic dose. For clarithromycin, sumatriptan, and propafenone, one parameter, oral bioavailability, was marginally outside of the normally acceptable 2-fold prediction interval around the mean therapeutic dose value. For clarithromycin, sumatriptan and propafenone, data obtained from an oral and iv microdose were compared within the same cohort of subjects used in the study, as well as those reported in the literature. For paracetamol (oral and iv) and phenobarbital (oral), microdose data were compared with those reported in the literature only. Where 100 μg iv 14C-doses were given alone and with an oral non-labelled therapeutic dose, excellent accord between the PK parameters was observed indicating that the disposition kinetics of the drugs tested were unaffected by the presence of therapeutic concentrations. This observation implies that any deviation from linearity following the oral therapeutic doses occurs during the absorption process. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-150
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2011