The pharmacokinetics of diclofenac after a single oral dose (50 mg) were studied in 10 healthy adults on two occasions separated by 2 weeks, once in the morning (dose administered at 07.00 h) and once in the evening (dose at 19.00 h). Peak serum drug concentrations as well as the area under the drug concentration-time curve were significantly less during the night compared with the day (Cmax: 1886 +/- s.d 901 vs 2791 +/- 1565 ng ml-1 and AUC: 2807 +/- 1376 vs 3681 +/- 1986 ng ml-1 h). However, the time to reach peak concentration (tmax) and the half-life of diclofenac (t1/2) were not significantly different on the two occasions. We suggest that the extent of diclofenac absorption is slightly lower following administration in the evening compared with administration in the morning.
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