Absorption and Distribution
Sildenafil is rapidly absorbed after oral administration, with a mean absolute bioavailability of 41% (25–63%). Maximum observed plasma concentrations are reached within 30 to 120 minutes (median 60 minutes) of oral dosing in the fasted state. When Sildenafil is taken with a high-fat meal, the rate of absorption is reduced, with a mean delay in Tmax of 60 minutes and a mean reduction in Cmax of 29%. The mean steady state volume of distribution (Vss) for sildenafil is 105 L, indicating distribution into the tissues. Sildenafil and its major circulating N-desmethyl metabolite are both approximately 96% bound to plasma proteins. Protein binding is independent of total drug concentrations.
Bioequivalence was established between the 20 mg tablet and the 10 mg/mL oral suspension when administered as a 20 mg single oral dose of sildenafil (as citrate).
Metabolism and Excretion
Sildenafil is cleared predominantly by the CYP3A (major route) and cytochrome P450 2C9 (CYP2C9, minor route) hepatic microsomal isoenzymes. The major circulating metabolite results from N-desmethylation of sildenafil, and is, itself, further metabolized. This metabolite has a phosphodiesterase selectivity profile similar to sildenafil and an in vitro potency for PDE-5 approximately 50% of the parent drug. In healthy volunteers, plasma concentrations of this metabolite are approximately 40% of those seen for sildenafil, so that the metabolite accounts for about 20% of sildenafil’s pharmacologic effects. In patients with PAH, however, the ratio of the metabolite to sildenafil is higher. Both sildenafil and the active metabolite have terminal half-lives of about 4 hours.
After either oral or intravenous administration, sildenafil is excreted as metabolites predominantly in the feces (approximately 80% of the administered oral dose) and to a lesser extent in the urine (approximately 13% of the administered oral dose).
Age, gender, race, and renal and hepatic function were included as factors assessed in the population pharmacokinetic model to evaluate sildenafil pharmacokinetics in patients with PAH. The dataset available for the population pharmacokinetic evaluation contained a wide range of demographic data and laboratory parameters associated with hepatic and renal function. None of these factors had a significant impact on sildenafil pharmacokinetics in patients with PAH.
In patients with PAH, the average steady-state concentrations were 20–50% higher when compared to those of healthy volunteers. There was also a doubling of Cmin levels compared to healthy volunteers. Both findings suggest a lower clearance and/or a higher oral bioavailability of sildenafil in patients with PAH compared to healthy volunteers.
Healthy elderly volunteers (65 years or over) had a reduced clearance of sildenafil, resulting in approximately 84% and 107% higher plasma concentrations of sildenafil and its active N-desmethyl metabolite, respectively, compared to those seen in healthy younger volunteers (18–45 years). Due to age-differences in plasma protein binding, the corresponding increase in the AUC of free (unbound) sildenafil and its active N-desmethyl metabolite were 45% and 57%, respectively.
In volunteers with mild (CLcr = 50–80 mL/min) and moderate (CLcr = 30–49 mL/min) renal impairment, the pharmacokinetics of a single oral dose of sildenafil (50 mg) was not altered. In volunteers with severe (CLcr less than 30 mL/min) renal impairment, sildenafil clearance was reduced, resulting in approximately doubling of AUC and Cmax compared to age-matched volunteers with no renal impairment. In addition, N-desmethyl metabolite AUC and Cmax values were significantly increased 200 % and 79 %, respectively, in subjects with severe renal impairment compared to subjects with normal renal function.
In volunteers with mild to moderate hepatic cirrhosis (Child-Pugh class A and B), sildenafil clearance was reduced, resulting in increases in AUC (84%) and Cmax (47%) compared to age-matched volunteers with no hepatic impairment. Patients with severe hepatic impairment (Child-Pugh class C) have not been studied.
Drug Interaction Studies
In vitro studies
Sildenafil metabolism is principally mediated by the CYP3A (major route) and CYP2C9 (minor route) cytochrome P450 isoforms. Therefore, inhibitors of these isoenzymes may reduce sildenafil clearance and inducers of these isoenzymes may increase sildenafil clearance.
Sildenafil is a weak inhibitor of the cytochrome P450 isoforms 1A2, 2C9, 2C19, 2D6, 2E1 and 3A (IC50 greater than150 µM).
Sildenafil is not expected to affect the pharmacokinetics of compounds which are substrates of these CYP enzymes at clinically relevant concentrations.
In vivo studies
The effects of other drugs on sildenafil pharmacokinetics and the effects of sildenafil on the exposure to other drugs are shown in Figure 7 and Figure 8, respectively.
|Figure 7. Effects of Other Drugs on Sildenafil Pharmacokinetics|
Figure 8 Effects of Sildenafil on Other Drugs
CYP3A Inhibitors and Beta Blockers
Population pharmacokinetic analysis of data from patients in clinical trials indicated an approximately 30% reduction in sildenafil clearance when it was co-administered with mild/moderate CYP3A inhibitors and an approximately 34% reductions in sildenafil clearance when co-administered with beta-blockers. Sildenafil exposure at a dose of 80 mg three times a day without concomitant medication is shown to be 5-fold the exposure at a dose of 20 mg three times a day. This concentration range covers the same increased sildenafil exposure observed in specifically-designed drug interaction studies with CYP3A inhibitors (except for potent inhibitors such as ketoconazole, itraconazole, and ritonavir).
CYP3A4 inducers including bosentan
Concomitant administration of potent CYP3A inducers is expected to cause substantial decreases in plasma levels of sildenafil.
Population pharmacokinetic analysis of data from patients in clinical trials indicated approximately 3-fold the sildenafil clearance when it was co-administered with mild CYP3A inducers.
The mean reduction of sildenafil (80 mg three times a day) bioavailability when co-administered with epoprostenol was 28%, resulting in about 22% lower mean average steady state concentrations. Therefore, the slight decrease of sildenafil exposure in the presence of epoprostenol is not considered clinically relevant. The effect of sildenafil on epoprostenol pharmacokinetics is not known.
No significant interactions were shown with tolbutamide (250 mg) or warfarin (40 mg), both of which are metabolized by CYP2C9.
Sildenafil (50 mg) did not potentiate the hypotensive effect of alcohol in healthy volunteers with mean maximum blood alcohol levels of 0.08%.
Sildenafil was not carcinogenic when administered to rats for up to 24 months at 60 mg/kg/day, a dose resulting in total systemic exposure (AUC) to unbound sildenafil and its major metabolite 33 and 37 times, for male and female rats respectively, the human exposure at the RHD of 20 mg three times a day. Sildenafil was not carcinogenic when administered to male and female mice for up to 21 and 18 months, respectively, at doses up to a maximally tolerated level of 10 mg/kg/day, a dose equivalent to the RHD on a mg/m2 basis.
Sildenafil was negative in in vitro bacterial and Chinese hamster ovary cell assays to detect mutagenicity, and in vitro human lymphocytes and in vivo mouse micronucleus assays to detect clastogenicity.
There was no impairment of fertility in male or female rats given up to 60 mg sildenafil/kg/day, a dose producing a total systemic exposure (AUC) to unbound sildenafil and its major metabolite of 19- and 38- times for males and females, respectively, the human exposure at the RHD of 20 mg three times a day.
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