The pharmacokinetics of dexmedetomidine in volunteers with severe renal impairment

Andre M. De Wolf*, Robert J. Fragen, Michael J. Avram, Paul C. Fitzgerald, Farhad Rahimi-Danesh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


Dexmedetomidine, an α2-adrenergic agonist with sedative and analgesic properties, is mainly cleared by hepatic metabolism. Because the pharmacokinetics of dexmedetomidine have not been determined in humans with impaired renal function, we studied them in volunteers with severe renal disease and in control volunteers. Six volunteers with severe renal disease and six matched volunteers with normal renal function received dexmedetomidine, 0.6 μg/kg, over 10 min. Venous blood samples for the measurement of plasma dexmedetomidine concentrations were drawn before, during, and up to 12 h after the infusion. Two-compartmental pharmacokinetic models were fit to the drug concentration versus time data. We also determined its hemodynamic, respiratory, and sedative effects. There was no difference between Renal Disease and Control groups in either volume of distribution at steady state (1.81 ± 0.55 and 1.54 ± 0.08 L/kg, respectively; mean ± SD) or elimination clearance (12.5 ± 4.6 and 8.9 ± 0.7 mL · min-1 · kg-1, respectively). However, elimination half-life was shortened in the Renal Disease group (113.4 ± 11.3 vs 136.5 ± 13.0 min; P<0.05). A mild reduction in blood pressure occurred in most volunteers. Although most volunteers were sedated by dexmedetomidine, renal disease volunteers were sedated for a longer period of time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1205-1209
Number of pages5
JournalAnesthesia and analgesia
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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