Diazepam kinetics in relation to age and sex

H. R. Ochs, D. J. Greenblatt, M. Divoll, D. R. Abernethy, H. Feyerabend, H. J. Dengler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


27 male volunteers aged 20 to 91 years, and 13 female volunteers aged 21 to 33 years, received single 5 to 10 mg doses of diazepam intravenously. Diazepam pharmacokinetics were determined from concentrations measured in multiple plasma samples drawn during 7 days after each dose. Diazepam elimination half-life among males (mean: 66 h) increased significantly with age (r = 0.53, p < 0.005). Volume of distribution (mean: 1.39 liters/kg) also increased significantly with age (r = 0.67, p < 0.001). Clearance of total diazepam in males (mean: 0.42 ml/min/kg) tended to decline with age (r = 0.32), but the association was of borderline significance (p = 0.1). Diazepam was extensively bound to plasma protein, with a mean free fraction among male subjects of 1.34%. Free fraction tended to increase with age (r = 0.14). Correction of volume of distribution and clearance for individual differences in binding did not alter the conclusions. Compared to young males, young females had larger volumes of distribution (1.87 vs. 1.34 liters/kg) and higher total clearance (0.63 vs 0.49 ml/min/kg). These differences were even greater after correction for sex-related changes in protein binding. Elimination half-life did not differ between sexes. Since both age and sex can influence diazepam disposition, both should be considered as independent variables in studies of diazepam pharmacokinetics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-30
Number of pages7
JournalUnknown Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1981
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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