The purpose of this work was i) to develop a population pharmacokinetic (PK) and pharmacodynamic (PD) model of dexmedetomidine (DEX) in New Zealand White rabbits, ii) to investigate the influence of the age and weight of the animals on the model parameters, and iii) to assess the linearity of DEX PKs in the examined dose range. This was a prospective, crossover study, using a total of 18 New Zealand White rabbits. DEX was administered as a single intravenous bolus injection in the doses from 25 to 300 μg kg−1. Each New Zealand White rabbit was given the same dose of drug in its three developmental stages. To determine the DEX PK, seven blood samples were taken from each animal. The pedal withdrawal reflex was the PD response used to assess the degree of sedation. Nonlinear mixed effects modelling was used for the population PK/PD analysis. The typical value of elimination clearance was 0.061 L min−1 and was 35% higher in younger New Zealand White rabbits compared with older animals. The PK of DEX was linear in the examined concentration range. Age‐related changes in sensitivity to DEX were not detected. The results suggest that due to the pharmacokinetics, younger animals will have lower DEX concentrations and a shorter duration of sedation than older animals given the same doses of DEX per kg of body weight.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
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