The pharmacokinetics of intranasal droperidol in volunteers characterised via population modelling

Isabelle Cooper, Cornelia B Landersdorfer, Ashley Gordon St John, Andis Graudins

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Droperidol is used parenterally to treat nausea and vomiting, migraine and acute behavioural disturbance. Intranasal use is not reported for droperidol. Intranasal drug administration reduces need for intravenous line placement and risk of needle-stick.
To model population pharmacokinetics of intranasal droperidol.
Single doses of intranasal and intravenous droperidol (0.02 mg/kg) were studied in an open-label crossover-trial in seven volunteers with a 1-week washout period. Blood samples collected over 10-h were analysed by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometer. Droperidol plasma concentrations following intravenous and intranasal administration were subjected to non-compartmental analysis and population pharmacokinetic modelling using S-ADAPT. Monte Carlo simulations were conducted for various potential intranasal dosage regimens.
The droperidol concentration-time profiles following intravenous and intranasal administration were best described by a model with two equilibrating disposition compartments and linear elimination. The apparent elimination clearance for intranasal dosing was 87.9 L/h and apparent central volume of distribution 18.2 L. Monte Carlo simulations of 5 mg droperidol (corresponding to the maximum volume that can be practically administered intranasal at a time) given intranasally at 0 and 5 min or 0 and 10 min indicated peak concentrations would reach those seen at 25 min after single intravenous administration of 1.5 mg. No adverse clinical effects or QT interval prolongation were observed.
Given the reduced bioavailability of intranasal droperidol, Monte Carlo simulations suggested that it could potentially be used at a higher dose (2.5–5 mg) than currently used intravenously in clinical trials assessing the effectiveness in treatment of nausea, vomiting and migraine.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
JournalSAGE Open Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • population pharmacokinetics
  • droperidol
  • intranasal
  • antipsychotics
  • pharmacokinetics

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