Diazepam plasma binding in the perinatal period: Influence of nonesterified fatty acids

M. J. Ridd, K. F. Brown, R. G. Moore, W. G. McBride, R. L. Nation

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The plasma binding of diazepam was determined serially in 24 women undergoing either elective induction of labour (vaginal or emergency caesarean delivery) or elective caesarean section at term and in 5 nonpregnant women requiring abdominal surgery. In the majority of pregnant patients, a marked increase in diazepam percentage free was observed during labour or prior to caesarean section, reaching a maximum, 1.6 to 3.2 fold increase at delivery or within 4 h postpartum; by the fifth day postpartum, diazepam percentage free was lower than on admission to hospital. In contrast, little change in diazepam percentage free was observed during the perisurgical period in nonpregnant patients. In parturient and surgical patients, the time courses of diazepam percentage free and plasma nonesterified fatty acid (NEFA) concentration were parallel. Bivariate regression analyses of pooled data demonstrated a strong correlation (r=0.642, p=<0.01) between diazepam percentage free and corresponding NEFA concentration and a weaker correlation between diazepam percentage free and both albumin (r=-0.319, p<0.02) or total protein (r=-0.438, p<0.01). From multiple linear regression it was demonstrated that 54% of the variability in diazepam percentage free could be attributed to plasma NEFA and albumin concentrations. NEFA displacement of plasma bound diazepam was substantiated using crystalline human serum albumin. An approximate 65% increase in plasma α1acid glycoprotein levels was observed posttrauma in both parturient and surgical patients but was unrelated to diazepam binding events. A relationship between diazepam plasma binding changes and concurrently altered disposition of diazepam during parturition is postulated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-160
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 1982
Externally publishedYes


  • alpha-1-acid glycoprotein concentrations
  • diazepam
  • perinatal period
  • plasma NEFA concentration
  • regression analyses

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