Plasma timolol levels and systolic time intervals
The -blocking potency of timolol was compared with that of propranolol under steady-state conditions in eight healthy subjects. The effects on systolic time intervals in healthy subjects and patients (n = 6) with coronary artery disease were evaluated in relation to varying timolol dose schedules and plasma concentrations. The -blocking potency was assessed by the inhibition of exercise-induced tachycardia. Timolol was eight times as potent as propranolol. There was wide between-patient variation (2.6 to 13.8) in timolol plasma concentration, and correlation between dose and peak (r = 0.61, p < 0.01) or nadir (r = 0.5, p < 0.01). There was a relatively weak correlation between timolol plasma concentration and degree of -blockade (r = 0.45, p < 0.05) and a linear correlation with dose (r = 0.98, p < 0.001). In healthy subjects timolol and propranolol had variable effects on systolic time intervals but in patients with coronary artery disease equipotent doses prolonged the preejection period, isovolumetric contraction time, and the ratio of the preejection period over the left ventricular ejection time. In patients as well as in normal subjects, the data indicated considerable -blocking effects for both drugs at the end of a 12-hourly dosing schedule, suggesting that twice-daily timolol and propranolol may be clinically practical.
Available from: Nick Holford
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ABSTRACT: It is a major goal of clinical pharmacology to understand the dose-effect relationship in therapeutics. Much progress towards this goal has been made in the last 2 decades through the development of pharmacokinetics as a discipline. The study of pharmacokinetics seeks to explain the time course of drug concentration in the body. Recognition of the crucial concepts of clearance and volume of distribution has provided an important link to the physiological determinants of drug disposition. Mathematical models of absorption, distribution, metabolism and elimination have been extensively applied, and generally their predictions agree remarkably well with actual observations. However, the time course of drug concentration cannot in itself predict the time course or magnitude of drug effect. When drug concentrations at the effect site have reached equilibrium and the response is constant, the concentration-effect relationship is known as pharmacodynamics. Mathematical models of pharmacodynamics have been used widely by pharmacologists to describe drug effects on isolated tissues. The crucial concepts of pharmacodynamics are potency — reflecting the sensitivity of the organ or tissue to a drug, and efficacy — describing the maximum response. These concepts have been embodied in a simple mathematical expression, the Emax model, which provides a practical tool for predicting drug response analogous to the compartmental model in pharmacokinetics for predicting drug concentration.
The application of pharmacodynamics to the study of drug action in vivo requires the linking of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics to predict firstly the dose-concentration, and then the concentration-effect relationship. This may be done directly by equating the concentration predicted by a pharmacokinetic model to the effect site concentration, but this simplistic approach is often not appropriate for various reasons, including delay in drug equilibrium with the receptor site, use of indirect measures of drug action, the presence of active metabolites, or homeostatic responses, thus often necessitating the use of more complex models.
The relative pharmacodynamic bioavailability of different preparations of the same drug may be determined from the time course of a drug effect. Bioavailability determined in this way may differ markedly from bioavailability defined by measurements of drug concentration if active metabolites are formed or if effects are produced in the non-linear region of the concentration-effect relationship.
The influence of changes in the extent of plasma protein binding may be important in the interpretation of drug concentration measurements since it is generally held that only the unbound fraction is pharmacologically active. Clear examples of this phenomenon are few, but this reflects the general paucity of adequate observations rather than casting doubt on the usual assumption.
The design of rational dosing regimens for clinical therapeutics cannot be performed with a knowledge of pharmacokinelics alone. The time course of drug effect may be essentially independent of concentration when a dose produces near maximal effects throughout the dosing interval. If effects are between 20 and 80% of maximum, the response will decrease linearly even though concentrations are declining exponentially. Finally, at relatively small degrees of effect, the time course of drug effect and concentration will be in parallel. The usual ‘rule of thumb’ of dosing every half-life is a conservative strategy for limiting wide fluctuations in drug effect, but demands more from the patient in terms of dosing frequency than may be necessary to achieve consistent drug action. On the other hand, if therapeutic success is dependent more on cumulative response than moment to moment activity, the use of extended dosing intervals may markedly reduce the effectiveness of the same average dose. Considerations of these factors can be incorporated into a dosing scheme by combined application of the principles of pharmacokinelics and pharmacodynamics.
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ABSTRACT: The serum concentrations and beta-blockade after dermal application of timolol ointment were evaluated in six healthy men (21-31 years old; 74-82 kg). Two patches (25 cm2) containing placebo and either 30 (n = 2) or 60 mg (n = 4) timolol base were randomly applied to the chest for 30 h. Serial serum concentrations of timolol were measured by a radioligand receptor assay. Bicycle ergometry, at a predetermined workload, was performed before and at 3, 8, 24, and 48 h after patch application; mean +/- SD heart rates (beats/min) at these times were 167 +/- 2, 158 +/- 7, 125 +/- 7, 120 +/- 5, and 150 +/- 5 (last 3 values: p less than 0.05 from pretreatment), and beta-blockade was evident in all subjects. Measurable serum concentrations in the therapeutic range were achieved in all subjects. The change in exercise-induced heart rate (y) was closely related to log timolol serum concentration (x) (y = -36 X - 5.3; r = -0.92; p less than 0.001). Based on the amount of timolol in the residual ointment, 50-60% of the original timolol dosage was delivered from the patch. Skin irritation under the patch compared with placebo was minimal. Further studies are warranted to assess the potential clinical utility of transdermal timolol.
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