Observational infant exploratory [(14)C]-paracetamol pharmacokinetic microdose/therapeutic dose study with accelerator mass spectrometry bioanalysis

Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2015 Jul;80(1):157-67. doi: 10.1111/bcp.12597. Epub 2015 Jun 1.


Aims: The aims of the study were to compare [(14)C]-paracetamol ([(14)C]-PARA) paediatric pharmacokinetics (PK) after administration mixed in a therapeutic dose or an isolated microdose and to develop further and validate accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) bioanalysis in the 0-2 year old age group.

Methods: [(14)C]-PARA concentrations in 10-15 µl plasma samples were measured after enteral or i.v. administration of a single [(14)C]-PARA microdose or mixed in with therapeutic dose in infants receiving PARA as part of their therapeutic regimen.

Results: Thirty-four infants were included in the PARA PK analysis for this study: oral microdose (n = 4), i.v. microdose (n = 6), oral therapeutic (n = 6) and i.v. therapeutic (n = 18). The respective mean clearance (CL) values (SDs in parentheses) for these dosed groups were 1.46 (1.00) l h(-1), 1.76 (1.07) l h(-1), 2.93 (2.08) l h(-1) and 2.72 (3.10) l h(-1), t(1/2) values 2.65 h, 2.55 h, 8.36 h and 7.16 h and dose normalized AUC(0-t) (mg l(-1) h) values were 0.90 (0.43), 0.84 (0.57), 0.7 (0.79) and 0.54 (0.26).

Conclusions: All necessary ethical, scientific, clinical and regulatory procedures were put in place to conduct PK studies using enteral and systemic microdosing in two European centres. The pharmacokinetics of a therapeutic dose (mg kg(-1)) and a microdose (ng kg(-1)) in babies between 35 to 127 weeks post-menstrual age. [(14)C]-PARA pharmacokinetic parameters were within a two-fold range after a therapeutic dose or a microdose. Exploratory studies using doses significantly less than therapeutic doses may offer ethical and safety advantages with increased bionalytical sensitivity in selected exploratory paediatric pharmacokinetic studies.

Keywords: accelerator mass spectrometry; exploratory clinical study; microdosing; paediatric pharmacokinetics; paracetamol.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetaminophen / administration & dosage*
  • Acetaminophen / blood
  • Acetaminophen / pharmacokinetics*
  • Administration, Intravenous
  • Administration, Oral
  • Carbon Radioisotopes*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Mass Spectrometry


  • Carbon Radioisotopes
  • Acetaminophen