Plasma and red blood cell pharmacokinetics of pimobendan enantiomers in healthy Chinese

K. M. Chu, S. M. Shieh, O. Y.P. Hu

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12 Citations (Scopus)


The pharmacokinetics of enantiomers of pimobendan and their demethylated metabolites in plasma and red cells were studied in 8 normal healthy volunteers. After racemic pimobendan 5 mg IV, the plasma concentration-time curve followed a two-compartment open-model with elimination half-lives of 1.81 h and 1.86 h for (+)- and (-)-pimobendan, respectively. The clearances and volumes of distribution postequilibrium were 13.5 ml · min-1 · kg-1, 14.4 ml · min-1 · kg-1; 1.74 l · kg-1 and 2.34 l · kg-1 for (+)- and (-)-pimobendan, respectively. Plasma protein binding (n=3) of (+)-, (-)-pimobendan, (+)- and (-)-demethylated metabolites was 97.6, 97.6, 92.2 and 92.5%, respectively. The plasma concentration-time curve also followed a two-compartment open model after oral administration of 7.5 mg racemic pimobendan. The absolute bioavailabilities of (+)- and (-)-pimobendan were 0.51 and 0.55. Peak levels of (+)-and (-)-pimobendan, both at 1.2 h, were 15.8 and 16.8 ng · ml-1, respectively. The (+)- and (-)-pimobendan concentrations in red cells were determined and their pharmacokinetics were estimated using red blood cell data. Interesting phenomena were observed: the peak concentrations of (+)- and (-)-pimobendan in red blood cells were about 5.5- and 9.2-times higher than in plasma, and the AUCs were correspondingly elevated. The volume of distribution of the central compartment of (-)-pimobendan in red cell was significantly smaller than that of (+)-pimobendan. (0.24 vs. 0.42 l · kg-1.) Similar phenomena were found after IV administration. These all indicated stereoselective partitioning or distribution of (-)-pimobendan into red cells. Since the elimination half-life of (+)- and (-)-pimobendan in red cells was similar (3.07 vs 2.97 h), the highly significant difference in clearance between (+)- and (-)-pimobendan (3.7 vs 2.3 ml · min-1 · kg-1) was solely due to the stereoselective distribution of (-)-pimobendan into the red blood cells. This stereoselective property of the (-)-isomer may be the explanation of a previous report that (-)-pimobendan produced a 1.5-times larger contractile force in detergent-skinned preparations of cardiac muscle from guinea pig and dog than the (+)-isomer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)537-542
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • demethyl pimobendan
  • enantiomers
  • metabolites
  • pharmacokinetics
  • Pimobendan
  • stereoselectivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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