In a placebo-controlled, double-blind study we evaluated the safety and kinetics of a new narcotic antagonist, nalmefene, after 2, 6, 12, and 24 mg intravenous doses to healthy men. At each dose level four subjects received active drug and two received placebo. The drug was well tolerated at all dose levels with only mild and transient side effects, the most common of which was lightheadedness. The plasma concentration-time data were best fit with a triexponential equation, and the terminal elimination phase had a harmonic mean t1/2 of 8 to 9 hours. Only about 5% of the dose was excreted in the urine as intact nalmefene, with up to 60% excreted as nalmefene glucuronide. Although intersubject differences were noted, mean or dose-normalized mean kinetic parameters such as clearance, steady-state volume of distribution, terminal t1/2, and AUC showed no consistent trends related to increasing doses, indicating that nalmefene has linear pharmacokinetics.
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