Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology

, Volume 37, Issue 5, pp 499–501 | Cite as

Plasma alcohol concentrations in patients following paclitaxel infusion

  • Lorraine K. Webster
  • Nicholas A. Crinis
  • Carmel G. Morton
  • Michael J. Millward
Short communication


Paclitaxel is formulated in 50% Cremophor EL and 50% ethanol such that patients receiving paclitaxel also receive a significant amount of each of these solvents. The aim of this study was to measure the plasma alcohol levels in patients treated with paclitaxel. A total of 12 patients who were enrolled in phase II trials of non-small-cell lung cancer, breast cancer or ovarian cancer received 175 mg/m2 paclitaxel given as a 3-h infusion. Blood samples were obtained prior to and immediately following the infusion, and plasma ethanol concentrations were measured enzymatically. The dose of ethanol delivered with the paclitaxel ranged from 20.0 to 28.9 ml. No alcohol was detected in pre-dose plasma, but 8 of 12 patients had detectable levels in post-infusion plasma, with 0.033 g/dl being the highest concentration. The elimination rate of alcohol approximates the infusion rate when paclitaxel is given over 3 h, resulting in low or undetectable levels in most patients. However, in patients receiving an equivalent dose of paclitaxel given as a 1-h infusion, the plasma alcohol levels will likely be high nough for significant pharmacological effects to occur.

Key words

Paclitaxel Drug interaction Ethanol 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lorraine K. Webster
    • 1
  • Nicholas A. Crinis
    • 2
  • Carmel G. Morton
    • 3
  • Michael J. Millward
    • 3
  1. 1.Division of ResearchPeter MacCallum Cancer InstituteMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Department of PathologyPeter MacCallum Cancer InstituteMelbourneAustralia
  3. 3.Division of Haematology and Medical OncologyPeter MacCallum Cancer InstituteAustralia

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