The two-compartment pharmacokinetics of netilmicin were investigated in 11 patients with stable renal function who were being treated for gram-negative infections. The initial dosage of netilmicin ranged from 2.5 to 5.0 mg/kg per day, with subsequent changes made on the basis of serum concentrations. Venous blood samples were obtained every 2 to 4 days during therapy and daily for an average of 10 days after the final dose. Serum concentrations were measured by both microbiological assay and radioimmunoassay. Peak and trough netilmicin concentrations were significantly greater (P less than 0.01) at the end of therapy than at the first dose, even though renal function was stable throughout treatment in all patients. After the final dose, serum concentrations declined in a biphasic manner, with a first-phase half-life of 5.4 h and a terminal half-life of 198 h. The total body clearance averaged 31 ml/min. An average of 99 mg of netilmicin (approximately 5% of the total dose) was predicted to be in the tissue compartment at the end of therapy. A comparison of these pharmacokinetic parameters with those obtained in a previously reported but similar study with gentamicin showed no significant differences between the two aminoglycosides with respect to peak and trough concentrations (initially or at the end of therapy), volumes of distribution, total body clearance, or amount of drug in the tissue compartment at the end of therapy. The terminal half-life of netilmicin was significantly greater than that of gentamicin, whereas the rate constant of netilmicin for tissue influx (k12) was significantly less
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