Plasma level of chlormethiazole and two metabolites after oral administration to young and aged human subjects

R. L. Nation, J. Vine, E. J. Triggs, B. Learoyd

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The plasma concentration of chlormethiazole and two of its metabolites has been measured in three young and three aged human subjects following administration of a single oral dose of chlormethiazole. A sensitive analytical method based on gas chromatography-mass spectrometry using the selective ion monitoring mode of operation was developed to permit quantitation of the plasma levels. The time course of the plasma concentration of chlormethiazole and metabolites showed wide inter-subject variation, particularly between the young and elderly subjects. Absorption of chlormethiazole was rapid in the subjects of both groups as assessed by the time taken to reach the peak plasma concentration. The mean peak plasma level of chlormethiazole was more than five times greater in the elderly (2.90±1.56 μg/ml) than in the young (0.55±0.58 μg/ml) subjects. The plasma level of chlormethiazole was consistently higher in the aged subjects and this was reflected by the larger area under the plasma curve in aged (7.62±5.37 μg.h/ml) than in young (0.94±0.66 μg.h/ml) individuals. Decreased pre-systemic elimination by the liver has been suggested as an important factor contributing to the higher plasma level in the elderly. Estimates of absolute systemic availability, calculated by reference to previous intravenous studies, were greater for the elderly subjects. The distribution of chlormethiazole in whole blood from six young and six elderly human subjects was investigated in vitro. The unbound fraction of chlormethiazole in plasma increased significantly from 0.308±0.035 in young subjects to 0.403±0.067 in the elderly. Distribution of the drug in whole blood was different for the two age groups; the fraction of drug distributed to plasma water was significantly greater and the fraction in blood cells was significantly less in the aged.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-145
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 1977
Externally publishedYes


  • Chlormethiazole
  • metabolites
  • oral administration
  • pharmacokinetics
  • quantitative gas chromatographymass spectrometry
  • whole blood distribution
  • young and elderly human subjects

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