Clinical Pharmacokinetics

, Volume 41, Issue 13, pp 1021–1042

Clinical Pharmacokinetics of Tegaserod, a Serotonin 5-HT4 Receptor Partial Agonist with Promotile Activity

Review Articles Drug Disposition


Tegaserod, a selective serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine; 5-HT) 5-HT4 receptor partial agonist, is indicated in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) who identify abdominal pain or discomfort and constipation as their predominant symptoms. Tegaserod at dosages of 1 to 12 mg/day exerts pharmacodynamic actions in the upper and the lower gastrointestinal tract, accelerating small bowel and colonic transit in patients with IBS.

Tegaserod is rapidly absorbed following oral administration; peak plasma concentrations (Cmax) are reached after approximately 1 hour. Absolute bioavailability is about 10% under fasted conditions. Food reduces the bioavailability of tegaserod by 40 to 65% and the Cmax by 20 to 40%. Systemic exposure to tegaserod is not significantly altered at neutral gastric pH compared with the fasted state (pH 2). Tegaserod is approximately 98% bound to plasma proteins, primarily to (α1-acid glycoprotein, and has a volume of distribution at steady-state of 368 ± 223L.

Tegaserod is metabolised mainly via two pathways. The first is a presystemic acid-catalysed hydrolysis in the stomach followed by oxidation and conjugation which produces the main metabolite of tegaserod, 5-methoxyindole-3-carboxylic acid glucuronide (M 29.0). This metabolite has negligible affinity for 5-HT4 receptors and is devoid of promotile activity. The second is direct glucuronidation which leads to generation of three isomeric N-glucuronides. The plasma clearance of tegaserod is 77 ± 15 L/h, with an estimated terminal half-life of 11 ± 5 hours following intravenous administration. Approximately two-thirds of the orally administered dose of tegaserod is excreted unchanged in faeces, with the remainder excreted in urine, primarily as M 29.0. The pharmacokinetics of tegaserod are dose-proportional over the range 2 to 12mg given twice daily for 5 days, with no relevant accumulation.

The pharmacokinetics of tegaserod in patients with IBS are comparable to those in healthy individuals, and similar between men and women. No dosage adjustment is required in elderly patients or those with mild to moderate hepatic or renal impairment. Tegaserod should not be used in patients with severe hepatic or renal impairment.

No clinically relevant drug-drug interactions with tegaserod have been identified. In vivo drug-drug interaction studies with theophylline [a cytochrome P450 (CYP) 1A2 prototype substrate], dextromethorphan (a CYP2D6 prototype substrate), digoxin, warfarin and oral contraceptives have indicated no clinically relevant interactions and no requirement for dosage adjustment.


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© Adis International Limited 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Clinical PharmacologyNovartis Pharma AGBaselSwitzerland

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