Microdose study of 14C-acetaminophen with accelerator mass spectrometry to examine pharmacokinetics of parent drug and metabolites in healthy subjects

Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2010 Dec;88(6):824-30. doi: 10.1038/clpt.2010.206. Epub 2010 Nov 3.


A study of the pharmacokinetics of (14)C-labeled acetaminophen (AAP) was performed in healthy Japanese subjects receiving an oral microdose of the drug. After separation by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), the levels of AAP and its metabolites in the pooled plasma specimens were quantified using accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS). The total body clearance (CL(tot))/bioavailability (F) of AAP was within the variation in the reported values at therapeutic doses, indicating the linearity of AAP pharmacokinetics. AAP-glucuronide (Glu) and AAP-4-O-sulfate satisfied the criteria of safety testing of drug metabolites. AMS could detect AAP-Cys, the active metabolite of AAP conjugated with cysteine, in the urine. Probenecid prolonged the systemic elimination of total radioactivity and caused a marked decrease in AAP-Glu levels in plasma. Probenecid likely inhibited the glucuronidation of AAP and the renal elimination of AAP-4-O-sulfate. Microdosing of (14)C-labeled drug followed by AMS is a powerful tool that can be used in the early phase of drug development for pharmacokinetic analysis of drugs and their metabolites and for detecting the formation of active metabolites in humans.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase I
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acetaminophen / administration & dosage*
  • Acetaminophen / metabolism
  • Acetaminophen / pharmacokinetics*
  • Adult
  • Carbon Radioisotopes / pharmacokinetics*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Spectrometry* / instrumentation
  • Mass Spectrometry* / methods
  • Middle Aged
  • Particle Accelerators*
  • Young Adult


  • Carbon Radioisotopes
  • Acetaminophen