Plasma concentration-time data for benzoic and hippuric acids and urinary excretion-time data for hippuric acid were analyzed simultaneously after oral doses of 40, 80 or 160 mg/kg sodium benzoate administered at least one week apart to 6 healthy subjects.
The mean AUCs of benzoic acid after the doses of 80 and 160 mg/kg of sodium benzoate were 3.7- and 12.0-times greater, respectively, than after 40 mg/kg. However, the mean AUC of hippuric acid was roughly proportional to the benzoate doses. The observed data were explained by a one-compartment model with first-order rate absorption and Michaelis-Menten elimination of benzoic acid, together with a one-compartment model with first-order elimination for hippuric acid.
Although the maximum rate of biotransformation of benzoic acid to hippuric acid varied between 17.2 and 28.8 mg·kg−1·h−1 among the six individuals, the mean value (23.0 mg·kg−1·h−1) was fairly close to that provided by daily maximum dose (0.5 g·kg−1·day−1) recommended in the treatment of hyperammonaemia in patients with inborn errors of ureagenesis.
The individual maximum rate of metabolism can be estimated from the urinary excretion rate of hippuric acid 1.5 to 3 h after the single oral dose of 80 to 160 mg·kg−1 sodium benzoate. The justification of this concept requires further studies in patients with inborn errors of urea synthesis.