A two-compartment effect site model describes the bispectral index after different rates of propofol infusion

  • Marcus A. Björnsson
  • Åke Norberg
  • Sigridur Kalman
  • Mats O. Karlsson
  • Ulrika S. H. Simonsson


Different estimates of the rate constant for the effect site distribution (ke0) of propofol, depending on the rate and duration of administration, have been reported. This analysis aimed at finding a more general pharmacodynamic model that could be used when the rate of administration is changed during the treatment. In a cross-over study, 21 healthy volunteers were randomised to receive a 1 min infusion of 2 mg/kg of propofol at one occasion, and a 1 min infusion of 2 mg/kg of propofol immediately followed by a 29 min infusion of 12 mg kg−1 h−1 of propofol at another occasion. Arterial plasma concentrations of propofol were collected up to 4 h after dosing, and BIS was collected before start of infusion and until the subjects were fully awake. The population pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic analysis was performed using NONMEM VI. A four-compartment PK model with time-dependent elimination and distribution described the arterial propofol concentrations, and was used as input to the pharmacodynamic model. A standard effect compartment model could not accurately describe the delay in the effects of propofol for both regimens, whereas a two-compartment effect site model significantly improved the predictions. The two-compartment effect site model included a central and a peripheral effect site compartment, possibly representing a distribution within the brain, where the decrease in BIS was linked to the central effect site compartment concentrations through a sigmoidal Emax model.


Propofol Pharmacokinetics Pharmacodynamics Bispectral index NONMEM 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marcus A. Björnsson
    • 1
    • 3
  • Åke Norberg
    • 2
  • Sigridur Kalman
    • 2
  • Mats O. Karlsson
    • 3
  • Ulrika S. H. Simonsson
    • 3
  1. 1.Clinical Pharmacology and DMPKAstraZeneca R&D SödertäljeSödertäljeSweden
  2. 2.Karolinska Institutet at Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive CareKarolinska University HospitalHuddingeSweden
  3. 3.Department of Pharmaceutical BiosciencesUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden

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