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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Influence of arteriovenous sampling on remifentanil pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics.

INTRODUCTION: Remifentanil is a new, short-acting, rapidly metabolized opioid. Because remifentanil is metabolized in blood and tissues by nonspecific esterases, there is a substantial difference between arterial and venous remifentanil concentrations. This difference may greatly affect the estimation of pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic parameters. OBJECTIVES: To assess the effects of sampling site on the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic characteristics of remifentanil. METHODS: Ten healthy female subjects received intravenous remifentanil at an infusion rate of 3 microg/kg/min for 10 minutes. Serial blood samples were collected during and after drug administration from the radial artery and antecubital vein. A spectral edge measure was derived from the processed electroencephalographic and used as a measure of opioid effect. RESULTS: Venous concentrations were lower than arterial concentrations during the infusion of remifentanil. Pharmacokinetic parameters estimated from venous and arterial data differed significantly. When arterial concentrations were plotted against electroencephalographic effect, a classic counterclockwise hysteresis loop was observed, indicating a time-lag between changes in concentration and changes in effect. However, concentrations from venous blood produced a clockwise hysteresis loop that would classically suggest the development of acute tolerance. CONCLUSIONS: If this study had been conducted with venous samples alone, inappropriate conclusions such as acute tolerance could have been inferred. When designing studies to measure the acute time course (ie, non-steady state) of concentration and effect, the potential effects of sampling site on pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic characteristics must be carefully considered, particularly when the arteriovenous drug concentration difference is large.[1]


  1. Influence of arteriovenous sampling on remifentanil pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics. Hermann, D.J., Egan, T.D., Muir, K.T. Clin. Pharmacol. Ther. (1999) [Pubmed]
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