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Clin Pharmacol Ther. 1979 Jul;26(1):103-13.

Lorazepam kinetics in the elderly.


Lorazepam is a 3-hydroxy-1,4-benzodiazepine derivative biotransformed by glucuronide conjugation, followed by urinary excretion of the glucuronide metabolite. The kinetic properties of single 1.5- to 3.0-mg doses of intravenous lorazepam were assessed in 15 healthy elderly subjects, 60 to 84 yr of age, and in 15 healthy young subjects, 19 to 38 yr of age. Volumes of distribution for lorazepam in the elderly group (mean, 0.99 1/kg), were slightly but significantly smaller than in the young group (1.11 1/kg), suggesting less extensive drug distribution in the elderly. Values of elimination half-life (t1/2beta) in the elderly (15.9 hr) did not differ significantly from those in the young group (14.1 hr), but total clearance in the elderly (0.77 ml/min/kg) was 22% less (p less than 0.05) than in the young subjects (0.99 ml/min/kg). Age differences in lorazepam clearance were partly explained by more frequent cigarette smoking in the young subjects. Gender had no apparent relationship to kinetics. The rate and completeness of absorption of intramuscular (IM) and oral loraxepam was assessed in 10 of the elderly subjects. Deltoid IM injection and oral administration of tablets in the fasting state led to rapid absorption of lorazepam into the systemic circulation. Peak plasma lorazepam concentrations were always reached within 2.5 hr, and values of absorption half-life (t1/2a) did not exceed 45 min. Absorption of IM and oral lorazepam was 80% to 100% complete. Thus, the aging process is associated with small changes in the kinetics of lorazepam. IM and oral administration of lorazepam in elderly persons, as in the case of young individuals, leads to rapid and nearly complete absorption into the systemic circulation.

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