Population pharmacokinetics of dexamethasone in critically ill COVID-19 patients: Does inflammation play a role?

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Purpose: The aim of this study is to design a population pharmacokinetic study to gain a deeper understanding of the pharmacokinetics of dexamethasone in critically ill COVID-19 patients in order to identify relevant covariates that can be used to personalize dosing regimens. Methods: Blood samples from critically ill patients receiving fixed-dose intravenous dexamethasone (6 mg/day) for the treatment of COVID-19 were sampled in a retrospective pilot study. The data were analyzed using Nonlinear Mixed Effects Modeling (NONMEM) software for population pharmacokinetic analysis and clinically relevant covariates were selected and evaluated. Results: A total of 51 dexamethasone samples from 18 patients were analyzed and a two-compartment model fit the data best. The mean population estimates were 2.85 L/h (inter-individual-variability 62.9%) for clearance, 15.4 L for the central volume of distribution, 12.3 L for the peripheral volume of distribution and 2.1 L/h for the inter-compartmental distribution clearance. The covariate analysis showed a significant negative correlation between dexamethasone clearance and CRP. Conclusions: Dexamethasone PK parameters in ICU COVID patients were substantially different from those from non-ICU non-COVID patients, and inflammation may play an important role in dexamethasone exposure. This finding suggests that fixed-dose dexamethasone over several days may not be appropriate for ICU COVID patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number154395
JournalJournal of Critical Care
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Letao Li acknowledge the China Scholarship Council for the support by State Scholarship Fund No. 201908500113 .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors


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