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Review
, 21 (5), 372-93

Pharmacokinetic Optimisation of Histamine H1-receptor Antagonist Therapy

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Review

Pharmacokinetic Optimisation of Histamine H1-receptor Antagonist Therapy

F E Simons et al. Clin Pharmacokinet.

Abstract

Second-generation, relatively nonsedating histamine H1-receptor antagonists (H1-RA) are extensively used worldwide for the symptomatic treatment of allergic rhinoconjunctivitis and chronic urticaria. Information about the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of these medications, while still incomplete, is now sufficient to permit optimisation of therapy. Published pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic information on these H1-RA is summarised here, and areas where more data are required are delineated. Serum concentrations of most second-generation H1-RA are relatively low, and are usually measured by radioimmunoassay. After oral administration, peak concentrations are observed within 2 or 3 h. Bioavailability has not been well studied, due to the lack of intravenous formulations. Most H1-RA are metabolised in the hepatic cytochrome P450 system: terfenadine, astemizole, loratadine, azelastine, and ebastine have 1 or more active metabolites which are present in serum in higher concentrations than the respective parent compound, and therefore can be measured by high performance liquid chromatography. Cetirizine, an active metabolite of the first generation H1-receptor antagonist hydroxyzine, is not further metabolised to any great extent in vivo, and is eliminated via renal excretion. Levocabastine is also eliminated primarily by excretion. Serum elimination half-life values differ greatly from 1 H1-RA to another, and are 24 h or less for terfenadine, astemizole, loratadine, cetirizine, azelastine and ebastine, and the active metabolites of terfenadine, loratadine and ebastine. The active metabolite of azelastine (demethylazelastine) has a serum elimination half-life value of about 2 days, while that of astemizole (demethyl-astemizole) has a value of 9.5 days. From the few published studies in which the apparent volumes of distribution of the second-generation H1-RA have been calculated, it appears that tissue distribution is extensive. In children, the half-lives of H1-RA are generally shorter than are found in adults; there is no published information on the pharmacokinetics of astemizole, loratadine, azelastine, or ebastine in children. In some elderly adults, terfenadine, loratadine and cetirizine may have longer half-lives than in young healthy adults. There is little published data on the pharmacokinetics of the second-generation H1-RA in patients with impaired hepatic function. The half-life of cetirizine is prolonged in those with impaired renal function. There is a paucity of information on the pharmacokinetics of H1-RA in neonates, in pregnancy or during lactation.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

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