The objective was to assess the single-dose pharmacokinetics of clonazepam following i.m., p.o. and i.v. administration. In an open-label, three-way crossover study, 12 healthy volunteers were randomized to receive a single dose of 2 mg clonazepam either by the i.m., p.o. or i.v. route. Serial blood samples were collected up to 120 h after drug administration. Plasma concentrations of clonazepam were determined by electron-capture gas-liquid chromatography. The absorption rates of clonazepam after i.m. and p.o. administration of clonazepam were significantly different from each other, as reflected by the respective mean values of maximum plasma concentration (C(max) 11.0 vs. 14.9 ng.ml(-1)) and time to reach maximum concentration (t(max) 3.1 vs. 1.7 h). Secondary plasma peaks of clonazepam were observed in 9 volunteers after i.m. injection (C(max) 9.9 ng.ml(-1); t(max) 10.4 h). A comparison of the area under the plasma concentration-time curves (AUC) shows that the i.m. route is equivalent to the oral route (AUC(0- infinity ) 620 vs. 561 ng.h.ml(-1)). Clonazepam was almost completely absorbed after i.m. and p.o. administration, as shown by the mean absolute bioavailability of 93 and 90%, respectively. No significant differences existed between the elimination half-lives (i.v. 38.0 h; i.m. 43.6 h; p.o. 39.0 h). The average clearance and volume of distribution (V(Z)) were 55 ml.min(-1) and 180 liters, respectively. In conclusion, the observed differences in C(max) and t(max) after i.m. and p.o. administration were consistent with a slower absorption rate of clonazepam after i.m. injection. The systemic exposure to clonazepam was not affected by the route of extravascular administration. Statistical evaluation of these kinetic data showed differences in the absorption rate, so that clonazepam given by the i.m. route is not bioequivalent to the oral route. On the basis of the results of this study, we would recommend the same i.m. and p.o. dose in epileptic patients, but therapeutic response would be expected to be less predictable and to occur later in the case of i.m. administration.
Copyright 2003 S. Karger AG, Basel