Population pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of cysteamine in nephropathic cystinosis patients

Orphanet J Rare Dis. 2011 Dec 23;6:86. doi: 10.1186/1750-1172-6-86.


Background: Nephropathic cystinosis is an autosomal recessive disorder resulting in an impaired transport of cystine trough the lysosomal membrane causing an accumulation of free cystine in lysosomes. The only specific treatment for nephropathic cystinosis is cysteamine bitartrate. This study was aimed to describe the relationship between cysteamine plasma concentrations and white blood cell cystine levels, and to simulate an optimized administration scheme to improve the management of patients with cystinosis.

Methods: Cysteamine and cystine concentrations were measured in 69 nephropathic cystinosis patients. A total of 250 cysteamine plasma concentrations and 243 intracellular cystine concentrations were used to perform a population pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic analysis. An optimized administration scheme was simulated in order to maintain cystine levels below 1 nmol half-cystine/mg of protein and to investigate the possibility of administrating the treatment less than 4 times a day (QID, recommended). The current dosing recommendations are 1.3 g/m2/day for less than 50 kg BW and 2 g/day thereafter; the maximum dose should not exceed 1.95 g/m2/day.

Results: Cysteamine concentrations were satisfactorily described by a one-compartment model. Parameter estimates were standardized for a mean standard bodyweight using an allometric model. WBC cystine levels were adequately described by an indirect response model where the first-order removal rate constant is stimulated by the cysteamine concentrations.

Conclusions: According to simulations, in order to increase the percentage of patient with cystine levels below 1 nmol half-cystine/mg of protein, the current dosages could be changed as follows: 80 mg/kg/day (QID) from 10 to 17 kg, 70 mg/kg/day (QID) from 17 to 25 kg, 60 mg/kg/day (QID) from 25 to 40 kg and 50 mg/kg/day (QID) from 40 to 70 kg (these dosages remain under the maximum recommended dose). However an 8-hourly daily treatment (TID) did not provide acceptable cystine levels and should not be proposed.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Body Weight
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cysteamine / administration & dosage
  • Cysteamine / pharmacokinetics*
  • Cysteamine / therapeutic use*
  • Cystine / blood
  • Cystinosis / drug therapy*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Fanconi Syndrome
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Nephrotic Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Radiation-Protective Agents / administration & dosage
  • Radiation-Protective Agents / pharmacokinetics*
  • Radiation-Protective Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Radiation-Protective Agents
  • Cystine
  • Cysteamine