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Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2011 Jun;71(6):886-98. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2125.2011.03936.x.

Pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic relationships of central nervous system effects of scopolamine in healthy subjects.

Author information

1
Centre for Human Drug Research, Zernikedreef 10, 2333 CL Leiden, the Netherlands. mariekemoolenaar@online.nl

Abstract

WHAT IS ALREADY KNOWN ABOUT THIS SUBJECT:

• The cholinergic system is important for different central nervous system functions, including memory, learning and attention. Scopolamine, a centrally active muscarinic antagonist, has been used to model dementia and to demonstrate the pharmacological effects of cholinergic drugs, but for most effects the concentration-effect relationships are unknown.

WHAT THIS STUDY ADDS:

• We determined the pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic relationships of scopolamine using a multidimensional central nervous system test battery in a large group of healthy volunteers. The results suggested there are various functional cholinergic systems with different pharmacological characteristics, which can be used to study the effects of drugs that directly or indirectly modify cholinergic systems. The design of such studies should take the different concentration-effect relationships into account. AIM(S) Although scopolamine is a frequently used memory impairment model, the relationships between exposure and corresponding central nervous system (CNS) effects are mostly unknown. The aim of our study was to characterize these using pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic (PK-PD) modelling.

METHODS:

In two double-blind, placebo-controlled, four-way crossover studies, 0.5-mg scopolamine was administered i.v. to 90 healthy male subjects. PK and PD/safety measures were monitored pre-dose and up to 8.5 h after administration. PK-PD relationships were modelled using non-linear mixed-effect modelling.

RESULTS:

Most PD responses following scopolamine administration in 85 subjects differed significantly from placebo. As PD measures lagged behind the plasma PK profile, PK-PD relationships were modelled using an effect compartment and arbitrarily categorized according to their equilibration half-lives (t(1/2) k(eo) ; hysteresis measure). t(1/2) k(eo) for heart rate was 17 min, saccadic eye movements and adaptive tracking 1-1.5 h, body sway, smooth pursuit, visual analogue scales alertness and psychedelic 2.5-3.5 h, pupil size, finger tapping and visual analogue scales feeling high more than 8 h.

CONCLUSIONS:

Scopolamine affected different CNS functions in a concentration-dependent manner, which based on their distinct PK-PD characteristics seemed to reflect multiple distinct functional pathways of the cholinergic system. All PD effects showed considerable albeit variable delays compared with plasma concentrations. The t(1/2) k(eo) of the central effects was longer than of the peripheral effects on heart rate, which at least partly reflects the long CNS retention of scopolamine, but possibly also the triggering of independent secondary mechanisms. PK-PD analysis can optimize scopolamine administration regimens for future research and give insight into the physiology and pharmacology of human cholinergic systems.

PMID:
21306419
PMCID:
PMC3099375
DOI:
10.1111/j.1365-2125.2011.03936.x
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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