Bioavailability and pharmacokinetics of lorazepam after intranasal, intravenous, and intramuscular administration

J Clin Pharmacol. 2001 Nov;41(11):1225-31. doi: 10.1177/00912700122012779.


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the pharmacokinetic profile of intranasal lorazepam in comparison to currently established administration routes. Eleven healthy volunteers completed this randomized crossover study. On three occasions, each separated by a 1-week washout, subjects received a 2 mg dose of lorazepam via the intranasal, intravenous, or intramuscular route. Blood samples were collected serially from 0 to 36 hours. Noncompartmental methods were used to determine pharmacokinetic parameters. Lorazepam was well absorbed following intranasal administration with a mean (%CV) bioavailability of 77.7(11.1). Intranasal administration resulted in a faster absorption rate than intramuscular administration. Elimination profiles were comparable between all three routes. The concentration-time profile for intranasal delivery demonstrated evidence of a double peak in several subjects, suggesting partial oral absorption. Females were found to have significantly higher AUC values than males for all three delivery routes. Overall, this study demonstrated favorable pharmacokinetics of intranasal lorazepam in relation to standard administration methods. Intranasal delivery could provide an alternative, noninvasive delivery route for lorazepam.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Intranasal
  • Adult
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents / blood
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents / pharmacokinetics*
  • Area Under Curve
  • Biological Availability
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intramuscular
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Lorazepam / administration & dosage
  • Lorazepam / blood
  • Lorazepam / pharmacokinetics*
  • Male
  • Metabolic Clearance Rate


  • Anti-Anxiety Agents
  • Lorazepam