Pramipexole Dihydrochloride (Page 5 of 8)

12.3 Pharmacokinetics

Pramipexole displays linear pharmacokinetics over the clinical dosage range. Its terminal half-life is about 8 hours in young healthy volunteers and about 12 hours in elderly volunteers. Steady-state concentrations are achieved within 2 days of dosing.


Pramipexole is rapidly absorbed, reaching peak concentrations in approximately 2 hours. The absolute bioavailability of pramipexole is greater than 90%, indicating that it is well absorbed and undergoes little presystemic metabolism. Food does not affect the extent of pramipexole absorption, although the time of maximum plasma concentration (Tmax ) is increased by about 1 hour when the drug is taken with a meal.


Pramipexole is extensively distributed, having a volume of distribution of about 500 L (coefficient of variation [CV] = 20%). It is about 15% bound to plasma proteins. Pramipexole distributes into red blood cells as indicated by an erythrocyte-to-plasma ratio of approximately 2.


Pramipexole is metabolized only to a negligible extent (<10%). No specific active metabolite has been identified in human plasma or urine.


Urinary excretion is the major route of pramipexole elimination, with 90% of a pramipexole dose recovered in urine, almost all as unchanged drug. The renal clearance of pramipexole is approximately 400 mL/min (CV=25%), approximately three times higher than the glomerular filtration rate. Thus, pramipexole is secreted by the renal tubules, probably by the organic cation transport system.

Pharmacokinetics in Specific Populations

Because therapy with pramipexole dihydrochloride tablets is initiated at a low dose and gradually titrated upward according to clinical tolerability to obtain the optimum therapeutic effect, adjustment of the initial dose based on gender, weight, race, or age is not necessary. However, renal insufficiency, which can cause a large decrease in the ability to eliminate pramipexole, may necessitate dosage adjustment [see Dosage and Administration (2.2) ].


Pramipexole clearance is about 30% lower in women than in men, but this difference can be accounted for by differences in body weight. There is no difference in half-life between males and females.


Pramipexole clearance decreases with age as the half-life and clearance are about 40% longer and 30% lower, respectively, in elderly (aged 65 years or older) compared with young healthy volunteers (aged less than 40 years). This difference is most likely due to the reduction in renal function with age, since pramipexole clearance is correlated with renal function, as measured by creatinine clearance.


No racial differences in metabolism and elimination have been identified.

Parkinson’s Disease Patients

A cross-study comparison of data suggests that the clearance of pramipexole may be reduced by about 30% in Parkinson’s disease patients compared with healthy elderly volunteers. The reason for this difference appears to be reduced renal function in Parkinson’s disease patients, which may be related to their poorer general health. The pharmacokinetics of pramipexole were comparable between early and advanced Parkinson’s disease patients.

Hepatic Impairment

The influence of hepatic insufficiency on pramipexole pharmacokinetics has not been evaluated. Because approximately 90% of the recovered dose is excreted in the urine as unchanged drug, hepatic impairment would not be expected to have a significant effect on pramipexole elimination.

Renal Impairment

Clearance of pramipexole was about 75% lower in patients with severe renal impairment (creatinine clearance approximately 20 mL/min) and about 60% lower in patients with moderate impairment (creatinine clearance approximately 40 mL/min) compared with healthy volunteers [see Warnings and Precautions (5.6) and Dosage and Administration (2.2)]. In patients with varying degrees of renal impairment, pramipexole clearance correlates well with creatinine clearance. Therefore, creatinine clearance can be used as a predictor of the extent of decrease in pramipexole clearance.

Drug Interactions

Carbidopa/levodopa: Carbidopa/levodopa did not influence the pharmacokinetics of pramipexole in healthy volunteers (N=10). Pramipexole did not alter the extent of absorption (AUC) or the elimination of carbidopa/levodopa, although it caused an increase in levodopa Cmax by about 40% and a decrease in Tmax from 2.5 to 0.5 hours.

Selegiline: In healthy volunteers (N=11), selegiline did not influence the pharmacokinetics of pramipexole.

Amantadine: Population pharmacokinetic analyses suggest that amantadine may slightly decrease the oral clearance of pramipexole.

Cimetidine: Cimetidine, a known inhibitor of renal tubular secretion of organic bases via the cationic transport system, caused a 50% increase in pramipexole AUC and a 40% increase in half-life (N=12).

Probenecid: Probenecid, a known inhibitor of renal tubular secretion of organic acids via the anionic transporter, did not noticeably influence pramipexole pharmacokinetics (N=12).

Other drugs eliminated via renal secretion: Population pharmacokinetic analysis suggests that coadministration of drugs that are secreted by the cationic transport system (e.g., cimetidine, ranitidine, diltiazem, triamterene, verapamil, quinidine, and quinine) decreases the oral clearance of pramipexole by about 20%, while those secreted by the anionic transport system (e.g., cephalosporins, penicillins, indomethacin, hydrochlorothiazide, and chlorpropamide) are likely to have little effect on the oral clearance of pramipexole. Other known organic cation transport substrates and/or inhibitors (e.g., cisplatin and procainamide) may also decrease the clearance of pramipexole.

CYP interactions: Inhibitors of cytochrome P450 enzymes would not be expected to affect pramipexole elimination because pramipexole is not appreciably metabolized by these enzymes in vivo or in vitro. Pramipexole does not inhibit CYP enzymes CYP1A2, CYP2C9, CYP2C19, CYP2E1, and CYP3A4. Inhibition of CYP2D6 was observed with an apparent Ki of 30 μM, indicating that pramipexole will not inhibit CYP enzymes at plasma concentrations observed following the clinical dose of 4.5 mg/day (1.5 mg TID).


13.1 Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility

Two-year carcinogenicity studies with pramipexole have been conducted in mice and rats. Pramipexole was administered in the diet to mice at doses up to 10 mg/kg/day (or approximately 10 times the maximum recommended human dose (MRHD) for Parkinson’s disease of 4.5 mg/day on a mg/m2 basis). Pramipexole was administered in the diet to rats at doses up to 8 mg/kg/day. These doses were associated with plasma AUCs up to approximately 12 times that in humans at the MRHD. No significant increases in tumors occurred in either species.
Pramipexole was not mutagenic or clastogenic in a battery of in vitro (bacterial reverse mutation, V79/HGPRT gene mutation, chromosomal aberration in CHO cells) and in vivo (mouse micronucleus) assays.
In rat fertility studies, pramipexole at a dose of 2.5 mg/kg/day (5 times the MRHD on a mg/m2 basis), prolonged estrus cycles and inhibited implantation. These effects were associated with reductions in serum levels of prolactin, a hormone necessary for implantation and maintenance of early pregnancy in rats.

13.2 Animal Toxicology and/or Pharmacology

Retinal Pathology in Rats

Pathologic changes (degeneration and loss of photoreceptor cells) were observed in the retina of albino rats in the 2-year carcinogenicity study with pramipexole. These findings were first observed during week 76 and were dose-dependent in animals receiving 2 or 8 mg/kg/day (plasma AUCs equal to 2.5 and 12.5 times that in humans at the MRHD). In a similar study of pigmented rats with 2 years exposure to pramipexole at 2 or 8 mg/kg/day, retinal degeneration was not observed. Animals given drug had thinning in the outer nuclear layer of the retina that was only slightly greater (by morphometric analysis) than that seen in control rats.

Investigative studies demonstrated that pramipexole reduced the rate of disk shedding from the photoreceptor rod cells of the retina in albino rats, which was associated with enhanced sensitivity to the damaging effects of light. In a comparative study, degeneration and loss of photoreceptor cells occurred in albino rats after 13 weeks of treatment with 25 mg/kg/day of pramipexole (54 times the MRHD on a mg/m2 basis) and constant light (100 lux) but not in pigmented rats exposed to the same dose and higher light intensities (500 lux). Thus, the retina of albino rats is considered to be uniquely sensitive to the damaging effects of pramipexole and light. Similar changes in the retina did not occur in a 2-year carcinogenicity study in albino mice treated with 0.3, 2, or 10 mg/kg/day (0.3, 2.2 and 11 times the MRHD on a mg/m2 basis). Evaluation of the retinas of monkeys given 0.1, 0.5, or 2 mg/kg/day of pramipexole (0.4, 2.2, and 8.6 times the MRHD on a mg/m2 basis) for 12 months and minipigs given 0.3, 1, or 5 mg/kg/day of pramipexole for 13 weeks also detected no changes.

The potential significance of this effect in humans has not been established, but cannot be disregarded because disruption of a mechanism that is universally present in vertebrates (i.e., disk shedding) may be involved.

Fibro-osseous Proliferative Lesions in Mice

An increased incidence of fibro-osseous proliferative lesions occurred in the femurs of female mice treated for 2 years with 0.3, 2, or 10 mg/kg/day (0.3, 2.2, and 11 times the MRHD on a mg/m2 basis). Similar lesions were not observed in male mice or rats and monkeys of either sex that were treated chronically with pramipexole. The significance of this lesion to humans is not known.

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