The binding of nimesulide within human serum to isolated proteins and to erythrocytes was studied by equilibrium dialysis/Within the range of therapeutic concentrations, nimesulide was 99% bound to serum involving a nonsaturated process (NKA = 91). This binding was almost identical to binding of nimesulide to serum albumin (NKA = 95). Physiological concentrations of free fatty acids did not affect binding of nimesulide to serum albumin. The retention of nimesulide by erythrocytes suspended in buffer was moderate (67%), although in whole blood no erythrocyte binding was observed because of the greater affinity of this drug for serum. Over the range of therapeutic concentrations (2.5 to 63 μmol/L), the free fraction of nimesulide in serum remains constant. Serum binding was decreased in samples obtained from patients with renal failure or hepatic cirrhosis associated with hypoalbuminaemia and hyperbilirubinaemia, respectively. At therapeutic concentrations, the binding of nimesulide was unaffected by warfarin, cefoperazone, furosemide (frusemide), glibenclamide, tamoxifen or digitoxin. However, valproic acid and fenofibrate (80 μmol/L) may displace nimesulide. 4-Hydroxy-nimesulide, the principal metabolite, significantly increased the free fraction of nimesulide. Although methotrexate had no effect on the free fraction of nimesulide, the free fraction of methotrexate was significantly increased in the presence of nimesulide.
The present study also demonstrated 2 distinct nimesulide binding sites (site I and site II) on serum albumin (10 μmol/L) with different affinities: site II KA = 3.57 × 105 L/mol and site I Ka = 1.24 × 105 L/mol. Interaction studies using markers that bind specifically to site I (warfarin and azapropazone) and site II (diazepam and ibuprofen) indicated that nimesulide binds to site II with higher affinity and to a lesser extent to site I.