Pentobarbital pharmacokinetics in patients with severe head injury

Drug Intell Clin Pharm. 1987 May;21(5):459-63. doi: 10.1177/106002808702100517.


Intravenous administration of high-dose pentobarbital has been proposed as a treatment for elevated intracranial pressure refractory to other measures in brain-injured patients. The purpose of this clinical study was to examine the pharmacokinetics of high-dose continuous intravenous infusion of pentobarbital in this critical care setting. Six patients received a 25-34 mg/kg intravenous loading dose followed by a 1-3 mg/kg/h continuous infusion for 61-190 hours. Dosing rates were adjusted based on the patient's clinical status. The mean clearance was 0.72 ml/min/kg, with a volume of distribution (Vd) of 1.03 L/kg and a terminal half-life of 19.1 h. Considerable variation in individual patient parameters was observed. In addition, a change in clearance was suggested in patients requiring a longer infusion duration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Brain Injuries / blood
  • Brain Injuries / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Intracranial Pressure / drug effects*
  • Kinetics
  • Male
  • Metabolic Clearance Rate
  • Monitoring, Physiologic
  • Pentobarbital / administration & dosage
  • Pentobarbital / metabolism*
  • Pseudotumor Cerebri / blood
  • Pseudotumor Cerebri / drug therapy*
  • Pseudotumor Cerebri / metabolism


  • Pentobarbital