Nifedipine: influence of renal function on pharmacokinetic/hemodynamic relationship

Clin Pharmacol Ther. 1985 May;37(5):563-74. doi: 10.1038/clpt.1985.89.


The hemodynamic effects and kinetics of nifedipine were examined in four groups of five subjects with different degrees of impaired renal function. In a randomized order, each subject received nifedipine by an intravenous infusion (4.5 mg in 45 minutes) and by mouth as a sustained-release tablet (20 mg). Plasma concentrations of nifedipine and urinary metabolite excretion were measured by liquid chromatography. Heart rate, blood pressure, forearm blood flow, and plasma norepinephrine levels were examined serially. After intravenous nifedipine infusion, the elimination t1/2 was 106 +/- 24 minutes in controls and increased gradually across the groups to 230 +/- 94 minutes in the group with severe renal impairment. In these same groups, the volume of distribution at steady state was 0.78 +/- 0.23 and 1.47 +/- 0.24 L/kg, but total systemic clearance did not differ. Plasma protein binding decreased from 96.0% +/- 0.5% in controls to 93.5% +/- 0.4% in severe renal insufficiency. Except for systemic clearance, kinetics were closely related to creatinine clearance, as was the urinary excretion of the main nifedipine metabolite. Except for systemic availability, which tended to decrease, the kinetics of nifedipine tablets were not influenced by the degree of renal failure. Hemodynamic effects after intravenous nifedipine could be fit to plasma concentrations under a sigmoidal model. When compared with control values, the maximal effect on diastolic blood pressure was more than doubled in severe renal failure. The inverse correlation between maximal effect on diastolic blood pressure and creatinine clearance (r = -0.68) was independent of pretreatment values. Neither free drug levels corresponding to 50% of the maximal effect on diastolic blood pressure nor the slope of the concentration-effect curve was influenced by the degree of renal impairment. The maximal effect on forearm blood flow tended to increase in renal failure, whereas the effect on heart rate was unchanged. Blood pressure changes after oral nifedipine were of the order of those after intravenous infusion. We conclude that, although nifedipine kinetics differ in patients with renal failure, these changes do not explain the greater blood pressure lowering effect.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Biological Availability
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects*
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Female
  • Forearm / blood supply
  • Half-Life
  • Heart Rate / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Infusions, Parenteral
  • Kidney Diseases / metabolism*
  • Kinetics
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nifedipine / administration & dosage
  • Nifedipine / blood
  • Nifedipine / metabolism*
  • Nifedipine / pharmacology
  • Norepinephrine / blood
  • Plethysmography
  • Random Allocation
  • Regression Analysis


  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Nifedipine
  • Norepinephrine