The pharmacokinetics of diazepam and desmethyldiazepam in rat brain and plasma

H. Friedman, Darrell R. Abernethy, David J. Greenblatt, Richard I. Shader

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


The pharmacokinetics of diazepam (DZ) and its major metabolite desmethyldiazepam (DMDZ) in both plasma and brain after a single 5 mg/kg IP dose of diazepam were studied in rats. Four rats were sacrificed at 5 min, 15 min, 30 min, 1 h, 1.5, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 h after the dose. DZ rapidly disappeared from plasma and brain in parallel, with nearly identical overall half-lives of 0.88 and 0.89 h, respectively. Apparent volume of distribution was 19.3 1/kg and the apparent total clearance was 255 ml/kg/min. Free fractions were 19.6% and 15.8% for DZ and DMDZ, respectively. DMDZ rapidly appeared in both plasma and brain. Thereafter, DMDZ was likewise eliminated in parallel from both compartments, with nearly identical half-lives of disappearance from plasma (1.11 h) and brain (1.09 h). The rapid elimination of DZ was due to its very high clearance. Brain to plasma concentration ratios did not differ significantly over time either for DZ or for DMDZ. The overall ratios (mean±SE) were 4.5±0.1 for DZ and 3.5±0.2 for DMDZ. Equilibrium was attained at no more than 5 min after dose for both DZ and DMDZ. No evidence was found for persistence or sequestration of DZ or DMDZ in brain longer than could be predicted on the basis of first-order exponential disappearance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-270
Number of pages4
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1986


  • Benzodiazepines
  • Desmethyldiazepam
  • Diazepam
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Ratbrain
  • Ratplasma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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