Journal of Pharmacokinetics and Biopharmaceutics

, Volume 26, Issue 5, pp 559–579 | Cite as

Integrated Pharmacokinetic–Pharmacodynamic Model for Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen, and Placebo Antipyresis in Children

  • R. Don Brown
  • Gregory L. Kearns
  • John T. Wilson


A descriptive profile for antipyretic drug action has been documented for children. However, a linked pharmacokinetic–pharmacodynamic (PK/PD) model is central to the understanding of antipyretic drug action in febrile children. This was examined for previously reported data from 178 febrile children who received a single oral dose of acetaminophen (APAP) (12.5 mg/kg), ibuprofen (IBU) (5 or 10 mg/kg), or placebo. Rectal temperatures and plasma levels (μg/ml) of APAP and IBU were measured for up to 12 hr after drug administration. Nonlinear regression analyses were applied to these measurements and yielded simultaneous solutions of an integrated one-compartment PK, link, and SigmoidEmaxeffect model in 102/153 febrile children given APAP or IBU. The PK parameters (tlag,ka, β,T1/,AUC0–∞,Vd/F,andClp/F) were not different than those reported previously, except the APAPkawas significantly lower. The link component yieldedkeos of 0.58±0.06 (X±SE), 0.70±0.11 and 0.57 ± 0.11 hr-1for APAP, IBU05, and IBU10, respectively: the SigmoidEmaxcomponent yieldedEC50s (μg/ml) and sigmoidicity (γ) of 4.63±0.39 and 3.98±0.42 for APAP, 11.33±1.35 and 3.97±0.58 for IBU05 and 12.83±1.89 and 4.27±0.63 for IBU10. On visual inspection of the efficacy–time profiles of the febrile children, a number of them had an apparent linear function (slope; Δ°C/hr) and/or a sinusoidal cyclic function “confounding” standard approaches to PD analysis. Thus, the temperature profiles of 91/102 children given APAP or IBU required the addition of a slope (Δ°C/hr) and/or a sinusoidal cyclic function to the SigmoidEmaxcomponent to fit the data satisfactorily. All 22 children given a placebo also required a slope and/or a cyclic function in their PD model. The residual Δ°Cs (observed-predicted) of the placebo group were not significantly different from 0. Thus, no placebo antipyretic effect was observed. Dose dependency of IBUAUC0–∞was confirmed; doubling the dose from 5 to 10 mg/kg increased theAUC0→∞by only 1.5-fold. The confounding effect of initial temperature (Tempi) on antipyretic efficacy in all treatment groups except placebo was also confirmed to expose nonlinear pharmacodynamics. A significant (p=0.03) contribution ofTempi(but not age) on the value of the slope function was found. There was no consistent effect of age orTempi, on the cyclic component of the integrated model of antipyresis. In addition, a multiple linear relationship of age andTempiwas observed with a large number of the PK, link, and PD variables in those who received IBU. Dose, age, andTempiinteracted with β in a significant multiple linear relationship withAUC0–∞. The effects of IBU dose, age, andTempiare pervasive and cascade down the chain of events leading to the PD response. The etiology of pyresis may create the slope function, the magnitude of which may be partially due to the underlying disease. In some cases, the cyclic function may be explained by temperature regulation. Regardless of their cause, both confound analysis of drug action and make the simple, unmodified SigmoidEMaxeffect model less than satisfactory for interpretation of antipyretic drug effects. The influence of Tempion the magnitude of antipyretic drug response is also a finding with major impact on PD investigations of antipyretic medications. In children receiving IBU, dose and age are also confounders, in addition toTempi. A multiplicity of covariables must be taken into account when developing appropriate dosing regimens for these antipyretics in febrile children.

acetaminophen age antipyretic fever ibuprofen pediatrics pharmacokinetics pharmacodynamics temperature 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Don Brown
    • 1
  • Gregory L. Kearns
    • 2
  • John T. Wilson
    • 1
  1. 1.Section on Clinical Pharmacology, Department of PediatricsLouisiana State University Medical CenterShreveport
  2. 2.Department of PediatricsUniversity of Missouri-Kansas City, and Section of Pediatric Clinical Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, The Children's Mercy HospitalKansas City

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