Objective: the aim of this relative bioavailability study was to determine the rate and extent of absorption of Alikal Dolor (effervescent powder containing paracetamol 500 mg/sodium bicarbonate 2318 mg)--test formulation (T) in relation to Parageniol (paracetamol 500 mg coated tablets)--reference formulation (R).
Methods: 18 healthy volunteers (10 male and 8 female aged between 21 and 46 years) received, after 2 h of standardized breakfast, a single oral dose with 220 ml of water, in an open, randomized, crossover study, with a 7-day wash-out period. Paracetamol concentrations were established at 0, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 60, 75, 90 min and at 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 h postdose by HPLC with an ultraviolet detector.
Results: the regression coefficient determined for paracetamol calibration curves was 0.9983 +/- 0.0034 and the working range was from 0.2 to 50 microg/ml. The quantification limit was 0.2 microg/ml. The rate of absorption was significantly greater (p < 0.03) for T (T(max) = 20.4 min) compared with R (T(max) = 38.4 min). Extent of absorption over the first 30 min postdose AUC((0-30 min)) was 4.21-fold greater (p < 0.03) for T compared with R, without differences between C(max.) The 90% CI on the geometric mean for C(max), AUC((0-10 h)) and AUC((0-)) ratios (T/R) were within the limits of 0.80-1.25, indicating both formulations were bioequivalent with respect to these parameters.
Conclusion: paracetamol was absorbed at least twice as fast from T-containing sodium bicarbonate compared with R. This pharmacokinetic feature could prove crucial from the therapeutic point of view as it would allow a lower latency in the action time of paracetamol in producing its analgesic and antithermal effect.