A three-step approach combining Bayesian regression and NONMEM population analysis: application to midazolam

J Pharmacokinet Biopharm. 1991 Aug;19(4):377-84. doi: 10.1007/BF01061662.


NONMEM, the only available supported program for population pharmacokinetic analysis, does not provide the analyst with individual subject parameter estimates. As a result, the relationship between pharmacokinetic parameters and demographic factors such as age, gender, and body weight cannot be sought by plotting demographic factors vs. kinetic parameters. To overcome this problem, we devised a three-step approach. In step 1, an initial NONMEM analysis provides the population pharmacokinetic parameters without taking into account the demographic factors. Step 2 consists of individual bayesian regressions using the measured drug concentrations for each subject and the population pharmacokinetic parameters obtained in step 1. The bayesian parameter estimates of the individual subject can be plotted against the demographic factors of interest. From the scatter plots, it can be seen which are the demographic factors that appear to affect the pharmacokinetic parameters. In step 3, the NONMEM analysis is resumed, and the demographic factors found in step 2 are entered into the NONMEM regression model in a stepwise manner. This method was used to analyze the pharmacokinetics of midazolam in 64 subjects from 714 plasma concentrations and 11 demographic factors. CL (elimination clearance) and V1 were found to be a function of body weight. Age and liver disease were found to decrease CL. Of the 11 demographic factors recorded for each patient, none was found to influence VSS or intercompartmental clearance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bayes Theorem*
  • Demography
  • Humans
  • Midazolam / pharmacokinetics*
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Statistical


  • Midazolam