Document Detail

Biopharmaceutics of a new transdermal fentanyl device.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  7661346     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
BACKGROUND: Compared with conventional routes of delivering potent analgesics to postoperative patients, transdermal administration of fentanyl offers the advantages of simplicity and noninvasive delivery. The only available form of transdermal fentanyl, the Duragesic system, has been implicated in preventable patient deaths when used for postoperative analgesia and is contraindicated in the management of postoperative pain. We examined the biopharmaceutics of a new transdermal fentanyl device developed by Cygnus and intended for use as a postoperative analgesic to see whether the new formulation offers pharmacokinetic advantages that might permit safe use in postoperative patients. METHODS: We studied 15 consenting male adult surgical patients. Patients received 650 or 750 micrograms intravenous fentanyl as part of the induction of anesthesia. Plasma fentanyl concentrations were measured over the following 24-h period. On the first postoperative day, 24 h after the intravenous dose of fentanyl, a transdermal fentanyl device was placed on the upper torso of the patient for 24 h and then removed. Plasma fentanyl concentrations were measured for 72 h after application of the transdermal fentanyl device. From the concentration versus time profile for the 24 h after intravenous fentanyl administration we determined each patient's clearance and unit disposition function by moment analysis and constrained numeric deconvolution, respectively. From the concentration versus time profile for the 72 h after application of the transdermal device we determined the amount of fentanyl absorbed and the rate of absorption, again by moment analysis and constrained numeric deconvolution. The residual fentanyl in the transdermal fentanyl device was measured, permitting calculation of the absolute bioavailability of transdermally administered fentanyl. RESULTS: Of the 14 subjects who received transdermal fentanyl, 3 had clinically significant fentanyl toxicity, mandating early removal of the device. The range during the plateau from 12 to 24 h in subjects still wearing the device was 0.34-6.75 ng/ml, a 20-fold range in concentration. In subjects wearing the device for 24 h, the terminal half-life of fentanyl after removal of the device was 16 h. The bioavailability of transdermally administered fentanyl was 63 +/- 35% coefficient of variation. The rate of fentanyl absorption from 12-24 h ranged from 10 to 230 micrograms/h in subjects still wearing the device. In two subjects, the rate within the first 6 h briefly exceeded 300 micrograms/h. Both of these subjects demonstrated fentanyl toxicity, requiring early removal of the device. CONCLUSIONS: The Cygnus transdermal fentanyl device shows great variability in the rate of fentanyl absorption, resulting in highly variable plasma fentanyl concentrations. Some persons may rapidly absorb fentanyl from the device in the first few hours after application, leading to fentanyl toxicity. The variability in effect of the Cygnus transdermal fentanyl device is appreciably greater than that reported for the currently available Duragesic transdermal fentanyl device, which is contraindicated for postoperative analgesia.
P Fiset; C Cohane; S Browne; S C Brand; S L Shafer
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Anesthesiology     Volume:  83     ISSN:  0003-3022     ISO Abbreviation:  Anesthesiology     Publication Date:  1995 Sep 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1995-10-05     Completed Date:  1995-10-05     Revised Date:  2006-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  1300217     Medline TA:  Anesthesiology     Country:  UNITED STATES    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  459-69     Citation Subset:  AIM; IM    
Department of Anaesthesia, McGill University, Montréal, Québec, Canada.
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MeSH Terms
Administration, Cutaneous
Biological Availability
Drug Delivery Systems*
Fentanyl / administration & dosage*,  adverse effects,  pharmacokinetics*
Infusions, Intravenous
Middle Aged
Pain, Postoperative / drug therapy*
Reg. No./Substance:

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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