Pharmacokinetics of mivacurium isomers and their metabolites in healthy volunteers after intravenous bolus administration

Anesthesiology. 1997 Feb;86(2):322-30. doi: 10.1097/00000542-199702000-00008.


Background: Previous studies report the pharmacokinetics of mivacurium isomers after an infusion using venous blood sampling. Although the extent of the mivacurium arterial-venous gradient is not known, the sampling site is likely to influence mivacurium pharmacokinetic parameters because the drug is rapidly metabolized as it traverses the circulation. The objectives of this study were (1) to determine the pharmacokinetics of mivacurium isomers in healthy persons after intravenous bolus administration using intensive arterial blood sampling, and (2) to characterize the formation and elimination of mivacurium metabolites in human plasma.

Methods: Eight persons classified as American Society of Anesthesiologists physical status 1 or 2 who were scheduled to undergo elective surgery under balanced anesthesia received 0.15 mg/kg mivacurium chloride as an intravenous bolus. Arterial blood samples were collected every 10 s during the first 2 min and at frequent intervals for 4 h thereafter. Plasma concentrations of mivacurium isomers and their metabolites were determined by two stereoselective high-performance liquid chromatographic methods coupled with fluorometric detection and noncompartmental pharmacokinetic parameters.

Results: Mean elimination half-lives of the trans-trans, cis-trans, and cis-cis isomers were 2.4, 2, and 28.5 min, respectively, with corresponding mean plasma clearances of 29.2, 45.7, and 6.7 ml.min The volumes of distribution at steady state of the trans-trans, cis-trans, and cis-cis isomers were 0.047, 0.054, and 0.189 l/kg, respectively. Plasma concentrations of monoester and alcohol metabolites peaked 25 s (median) after mivacurium injection, with half-lives in the range of 90 min, except for the cis alcohol metabolite, which was only negligibly and transiently formed.

Conclusions: Substantial hydrolysis of mivacurium isomers by cholinesterases was confirmed by the rapid appearance of mivacurium metabolites in plasma. The intensive arterial sampling proved to be critical for the trans-trans and cis-trans isomers because the area under the curve between 0 and 2 min accounted for 75% and 86% of the total, respectively.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Isoquinolines / administration & dosage
  • Isoquinolines / pharmacokinetics*
  • Male
  • Mivacurium
  • Neuromuscular Nondepolarizing Agents / pharmacokinetics*
  • Stereoisomerism


  • Isoquinolines
  • Neuromuscular Nondepolarizing Agents
  • Mivacurium