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J Pharm Sci. 1999 May;88(5):568-73.

Simultaneous investigation of indinavir nonlinear pharmacokinetics and bioavailability in healthy volunteers using stable isotope labeling technique: study design and model-independent data analysis.

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Departments of Drug Metabolism and Biostatistics, Merck Research Laboratories, West Point, Pennsylvania 19486, USA.


Indinavir follows nonlinear pharmacokinetics upon oral administration at clinical doses. A study employing the stable isotope administration technique in a three-treatment design was conducted to identify the source of the nonlinearity and to determine the dose-dependency of systemic bioavailability. In treatment A, 400 mg of unlabeled indinavir (D0) was coadministered orally with 16 mg of a hexadeutero analogue of indinavir (D6) intravenously. In treatment B, 800 mg of D0 po was coadministered with 16 mg of D6 intravenously. In treatment C, 16 mg of iv D6 was infused concurrently with 16 mg iv of D0. Plasma concentrations of D0 and D6 were determined by an LC/MS/MS assay method. Concentrations of indinavir in plasma increased greater than dose-proportionally over the 400- to 800-mg dose range. No meaningful kinetic isotope effects were found in treatment C. Plasma concentrations of D6 were dependent on the coadministered D0-indinavir dose and were lowest in treatment C, higher in treatment A, and highest in treatment B. The bioavailability of indinavir was high (60-65%) and comparable between the 400- and 800-mg doses. There was a significant contribution of nonlinear kinetics in the systemic circulation to the observed disproportional increase in plasma concentrations following oral dosing. The high bioavailability at clinically relevant doses suggests a high degree of saturation of first-pass metabolism. These results further demonstrate that the concomitant administration technique in combination with the LC/MS/MS method can provide a realistic and reliable means of elucidating important pharmacokinetic properties of drug candidates during product development.

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