Buprenorphine disposition in patients with renal impairment: Single and continuous dosing, with special reference to metabolites

C. W. Hand, J. W. Sear, Jeffrey Uppington, M. J. Ball, H. J. Mcquay, R. A. Moore

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98 Scopus citations


The disposition of buprenorphine has been studied in two patient groups to assess the influence of impaired renal function on the metabolism of buprenorphine and two of its metabolites, buprenorphine-3-glucuronide (B3G) and norbuprenorphine (NorB). A single i.v. dose of 0.3 mg was given to 15 patients (nine with dialysis-dependent renal failure) undergoing lower abdominal or peripheral body surface surgery. Blood was sampled up to 24 h. Concentrations of buprenorphine, B3G and NorB were assayed by a differential radio-immunoassay technique. There were no differences in buprenorphine kinetics between anaesthetized healthy patients and those with renal impairment: mean elimination half-lives 398 and 239 min; clearance 651 and 988 ml min-1apparent volume of distribution at steady state 313 and 201 litre, respectively. Both metabolites were undetectable following the single i.v. dose. In a second group of 20 patients (eight with renal impairment), buprenorphine was administered by continuous infusion for provision of analgesia and control of ventilation in the ITU (median infusion rate 161 μg h-1 (range 36-230 μg h-1) for a median duration of 30 h (2-565 h). Buprenorphine clearance in patients with normal and impaired renal function was similar (934 and 1102 ml min-1, respectively), as were dose-corrected plasma concentrations of buprenorphine. In patients with renal failure, plasma concentrations of NorB were increased by a median of four times, and B3G concentrations by a median of 15 times.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)276-282
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of Anaesthesia
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • Biotransformation: buprenorphine
  • Intensive care: sedation, analgesia
  • Kidney: failure
  • Pharmacokinetics: buprenorphine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Mathematics(all)
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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