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Influence of route of administration on the pharmacokinetics of methylprednisolone

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This study was conducted to evaluate the influence of route of administration upon the bioavailability and pharmacokinetics of methylprednisolone sodium succinate. Fourteen healthy adult male volunteers received 40 mg doses of methylprednisolone as the following treatments after an overnight fast in a 4-way crossover design: (a) as a 1 ml i.v. bolus;(b) as a 1 ml i.m. injection;(c) administered as an oral solution;and (d) as 5×8 mg oral tablets. Both the ester and free methylprednisolone were determined in plasma and urine. Study results indicate that the ester is rapidly and extensively converted to free methylprednisolone after all routes. The extent of methylprednisolone absorption was equivalent after i.v. and i.m. administration. Both orally administered treatments resulted in a lower extent of absorption attributed to a first-pass effect. Although a slightly lower extent of absorption was demonstrated following the oral administration of the methylprednisolone sodium succinate solution relative to the methylprednisolone oral tablets, this average difference of 9% would probably be of minimal therapeutic importance.

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Correspondence to Edward J. Antal.

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Antal, E.J., Wright, C.E., Gillespie, W.R. et al. Influence of route of administration on the pharmacokinetics of methylprednisolone. Journal of Pharmacokinetics and Biopharmaceutics 11, 561–576 (1983). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01059057

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Key words

  • methylprednisolone
  • bioavailability
  • pharmacokinetics
  • oral and parenteral administration