Archives of Toxicology

, Volume 49, Issue 3–4, pp 311–319 | Cite as

The pharmacokinetics of amygdalin

  • A. G. Rauws
  • M. Olling
  • A. Timmerman
Original Investigations


Amygdalin (d-mandelonitrile-β-d-gentiobioside) is a cyanogenic glycoside claimed to show anti-cancer activity, sold under the incorrect name “Laetrile”. For a sensible discussion of its alleged activity and its established toxicity it is necessary that its fate in the organism is known. The pharmacokinetics of amygdalin have been investigated in the Beagle dog after both intravenous and oral administration. The excretion of amygdalin has also been studied in the rat. Amygdalin concentrations were determined by high performance liquid chromatography in plasma ultrafiltrate and urine. The pharmacokinetics of amygdalin after intravenous administration were compared with those of diatrizoate, a model substance for extracellular volume and glomerular filtration. The amygdalin clearance is significantly larger than that of diatrizoate. The volumes of distribution of both substance are the same. After oral administration only a few percents of the amygdalin dose are systemically available. A part of the oral dose is recovered from the urine as prunasin (d-mandelonitrile-β-d-glucoside).

Key words

Amygdalin Prunasin Diatrizoate Pharmacokinetics Intestinal absorption 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. G. Rauws
    • 1
  • M. Olling
    • 1
  • A. Timmerman
    • 1
  1. 1.National Institute of Public HealthThe Netherlands

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