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J Pharmacokinet Biopharm. 1988 Feb;16(1):13-29.

The use of mass balance principles to describe regional drug distribution and elimination.

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Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, Flinders University of South Australia, Adelaide.


Mass balance principles were used to derive a number of terms that are helpful in describing the rate and extent of regional drug uptake. Regional drug uptake was defined as the net movement of drug from the blood perfusing a region into the extravascular space of the region due to the distribution and/or elimination of the drug. By analogy with the traditional physiological definition of flux, net drug flux was defined as the difference in mass per unit time of drug respectively entering and leaving a region via the arterial and venous blood vessels. The time-integral of net drug flux, net drug mass, was defined as the mass of drug that has entered a region via the arterial blood vessels but has not left the region via the venous blood vessels. For regions in which no drug elimination occurs, the mean regional drug concentration was defined as the net drug mass divided by the mass of the region. When a number of criteria are satisfied, the net drug flux is approximately the rate of drug uptake and the net drug mass is approximately the extent of drug uptake. Several examples are given to demonstrate the broad range of applications of mass balance principles. First, the method was used to characterize the differences between drug distribution and elimination in a hypothetical region using drug concentrations simulated from compartmental models of either distribution alone or distribution with elimination. Second, the whole body distribution net flux was described during a constant rate infusion of iodohippurate (IOH) into a sheep from the difference between the whole body net flux and renal net flux of IOH. Third, the time course of the mean myocardial lignocaine (lidocaine) concentrations in a sheep after an intravenous bolus of lignocaine were described. The time course of the lignocaine-induced depression of myocardial contractility followed more closely the mean myocardial lignocaine concentrations than that of either the arterial or coronary sinus blood concentrations. It is concluded that the use of mass balance principles provides a simple, empirical, and physiologically based method for the determination of the rate and extent of both drug distribution and elimination in regions as simple as single organs or as complex as the whole body.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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