European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology

, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 195–198 | Cite as

Absorption and disposition of ampicillin in the elderly

  • E. J. Triggs
  • J. M. Johnson
  • B. Learoyd


Ampicillin (500 mg) was administered intravenously (i. v.) and orally to a small panel of young and elderly subjects in a cross-over fashion. Plasma concentrations of ampicillin were measured by a fluorimetric technique for 8 h following dosage. A two compartment-open model was used to characterise the plasma concentration-time data for the intravenous study, and a one compartment-open model incorporating an absorption lag time and a first-order absorption rate constant for the oral data. Plasma clearance after i. v. ampicillin was found to be significantly decreased in the elderly (P<0.05, 0.08 1 h−1kg−1 versus 0.18 1 h−1kg−1), and half life and area under the plasma level-time curve were significantly increased (P<0.05, 6.70 h versus 1.68 h, t1/2β; p<0.01, 176.51 µg·h ml−1 versus 37.88 µg·h ml−1, AUC o ) as compared to the young. No sigificant differences were observed between the age groups for the volume of distribution terms and the changes in drug handling noted in the elderly were attributed to a decrease in the renal elimination of ampicillin. Following oral administration a significant increase in t1/2β, AUC o and the maximum plasma concentration (Cpmax P<0.01, 6.59 µg ml−1 versus 3.42 µg ml−1) of ampicillin was found in the elderly subjects. These findings were similarly attributed to a decrease in drug elimination in the aged, since no apparent age differences were noted in the pharmacokinetic parameters governing both rate and extent of ampicillin absorption.

Key words

ampicillin age oral dose i. v. dose pharmacokinetics 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Triggs EJ, Nation RL (1975) Pharmacokinetics in the aged: A review. J Pharmacokinet Biopharm 3: 387–418Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Crooks J, O'Malley K, Stevenson IH (1976) Pharmacokinetics in the elderly. Clin Pharmacokinet 1: 280–296Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Richey DP, Bender D (1977) Pharmacokinetic consequences of ageing. Annu Rev Pharmacol Toxicol 17: 49–65Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Vestal RE (1978) Drug use in the elderly: A review of problems and special considerations. Drugs 16: 358–382Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Jusko WJ (1970) Fluorometric analysis of ampicillin in biological fluids. J Pharm Sci 60: 728–732Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Yu ABC, Nightingale CH, Flanagan DR (1977) Rapid, sensitive fluorometric analysis of cephalosporin antibiotics. J Pharm Sci 66: 213–216Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Wagner JG (1976) Linear pharmacokinetic equations allowing direct calculation of many needed pharmacokinetic parameters from the coefficients and exponents of polyexponential equations which have been fitted to the data. J Pharmacokinet Biopharm 4: 443–466Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Veng-Pedersen P (1977) Curve fitting and modelling in pharmacokinetics and some practical experiences with Nonlin and a new program Funfit. J Pharmacokinet Biopharm 5: 513–531Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Simon C, Malerczyk V, Zierott G, Lehmann K, Thiesen U (1975) Blut-, harn- und gallespiegel von ampicillin bei intravenoser dauerinfusion. Arzneim-Forsch 25: 654–656Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Papper S (1973) The effects of age in reducing renal function. Geriatrics 28: 83–87Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Bender AD (1965) The effect of increasing age on the distribution of peripheral blood flow in man. J Am Geriatr Soc 13: 192–198Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Avery GS (1976) Appendix E. Guide to drug dosage in renal failure. In: Drug treatment. ADIS Press, Sydney, p 971Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. J. Triggs
    • 1
  • J. M. Johnson
    • 1
  • B. Learoyd
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PharmacyUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.North Ryde Psychiatric HospitalSydneyAustralia

Personalised recommendations