The Journal of antimicrobial chemotherapy

Pharmacokinetics of dirithromycin.

PMID 8478313


Dirithromycin is a new member of the macrolide class of antibiotics and has been developed for oral administration. Dirithromycin is a 14-membered lactone ring macrolide and is the C9-oxazine derivative of erythromycylamine. The human pharmacokinetics and clinical pharmacology of dirithromycin have been studied. Dirithromycin has unique pharmacokinetics which distinguish it from erythromycin. In man, following an oral 500 mg dose of dirithromycin, a mean peak plasma concentration (Cmax) of 0.48 mg/L (range 0.1-1.97) was observed at 4 h. The mean area under the plasma concentration versus time curve (AUC0-24h) measured 3.37 mg.h/L (range 0.39-17.16). No plasma accumulation was observed with multiple-dose administration. Dirithromycin may be taken without regard to meals, although food and H2-receptor antagonists may increase the systemic bioavailability in some patients. Based upon drug interaction studies performed with antipyrine and theophylline, dirithromycin has shown less potential to interact with other drugs metabolized by the cytochrome P450 system that does erythromycin. Plasma concentrations and AUCs were low due to rapid movement of the drug from the vascular space to the extravascular compartment, as reflected by tissue concentrations, which exceeded plasma concentrations 4 h after dosing. Dirithromycin achieves relatively high tissue concentrations (approximately 0.8-5.0 mg/kg) 4-24 h after dosing. The extensive tissue penetration is reflected in a large mean apparent volume of distribution of 800 L (range 504-1041). Dirithromycin is rapidly converted by non-enzymatic hydrolysis during absorption to erythromycylamine, which is microbiologically active. In a 14C-radiolabelled study, 60-90% of the administered dose was hydrolysed to erythromycylamine within 35 min of infusion. After 1.5 h, conversion to erythromycylamine in serum was virtually complete. Plasma protein binding was determined to be 15-30% by ultracentrifugation. Dirithromycin is characterized by a plasma elimination half-life of 44 h (range 16-65 h) that permits once-daily administration. Total body clearance was 226-1040 mL/min in the 14C-radiolabelled study. The primary route of elimination of dirithromycin/erythromycylamine was faecal/hepatic. Following intravenous administration, approximately 17-25% of the radioactivity appeared in the urine and 62-81% appeared in the stool, indicating predominantly hepatic excretion. With oral administration 1.2-2.9% of the radioactivity appeared in the urine and 81-97% in the stool. The major part of urinary excretion occurs within the first 48 h post-administration; however, urinary excretion of radioactivity lasted longer than 240 h. The absolute bioavailability calculated from dose-corrected urinary excretion data was 10% (6-14%).