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Pharm Res. 1993 Feb;10(2):276-81.

A saturable transport mechanism in the intestinal absorption of gabapentin is the underlying cause of the lack of proportionality between increasing dose and drug levels in plasma.

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Pharmacokinetics & Drug Metabolism Department, Parke-Davis Pharmaceutical Research Division, Warner-Lambert Company, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48106-1047.


Gabapentin (1-(aminomethyl)cyclohexaneacetic acid) is a neuroprotective agent with antiepileptic properties. The structure is small (molecular weight less than 200), is zwitterionic, and resembles an amino acid with the exception that it does not contain a chiral carbon and the amino group is not alpha to the carboxylate functionality. Gabapentin is not metabolized by humans, and thus, the amount of gabapentin excreted by the renal route represents the fraction of dose absorbed. Clinical trials have reported dose-dependent bioavailabilities ranging from 73.8 +/- 18.3 to 35.7 +/- 18.3% when the dose was increased from 100 to 1600 mg. The permeability of gabapentin in the rat intestinal perfusion system was consistent with carrier-mediated absorption, i.e., a 75 to 80% decrease in permeability when the drug concentration was increased from 0.01 to 50 mM (0.46 +/- 0.05 to 0.12 +/- 0.04). Excellent agreement was obtained between the actual clinical values and the predicted values from in situ results for the fraction of dose absorbed calculated using the theoretically derived correlation, Fabs = 1 - exp(-2Peff) by Amidon et al. (Pharm. Res. 5:651-654, 1988). The permeability values obtained for gabapentin correspond to 67.4 and 30.2% of the dose absorbed at the low and high concentrations, respectively. In the everted rat intestinal ring system, gabapentin shared an inhibition profile similar to that of L-phenylalanine. Characteristics of gabapentin uptake included cross-inhibition with L-Phe, sensitivity to inhibition by L-Leu, stereoselectivity as evidenced by incomplete inhibition by D-Phe, and lack of effect by Gly.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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