Objective: The pharmacokinetics of orally and intravenously administered valsartan were determined in two studies. In a first pilot study, three i.v. doses of valsartan were given in an ascending manner (5, 10 and 20 mg) to evaluate tolerability and basic pharmacokinetics of the i.v. formulation. In a second study, the absolute bioavailability of 80 mg valsartan from a capsule and a buffered solution was compared with a 20 mg i.v. dose.
Methods: The concentrations of valsartan in plasma and urine were measured using HPLC. The disposition of valsartan after an i.v. dose was characterized by biphasic decay kinetics, with a distribution phase (half-life 1.0 h), followed by a longer elimination phase (half-life 9.5 h). The volume of distribution at steady state was 16.9 l, and the total body clearance 2.2 l.h-1. 29% of the i.v. dose was recovered unchanged in the urine.
Results: Plasma levels peaked 2 h after oral administration of the 80 mg capsule. Thereafter, plasma levels declined biexponentially with a terminal t1/2 of 7.0 h. Cmax was reached 1 h after administration of the solution, and t1/2 was 7.5 h. On average 7.3% (capsule) and 12.6% (solution) of the dose was excreted in the urine as the unchanged drug. The fraction of dose absorbed and systemically available after oral administration was 0.23 for the capsule and 0.39 for the solution, based on AUC. Absorption appeared to follow two first-order processes. The first phase was rapid, with a half-life of 0.5 h and 0.9 h for solution and capsule, respectively. The slower absorption phase was characterized by a half-life of 6.5 h for the solution and 3.5 h for the capsule. Most of the drug was absorbed during the period 0.4 h to 3 h post-dosing, and 90% of the fraction absorbed from the capsule was absorbed within 5 h.