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1.  The safety of over-the-counter niacin. A randomized placebo-controlled trial [ISRCTN18054903] 
Niacin is widely available over the counter (OTC). We sought to determine the safety of 500 mg immediate release niacin, when healthy individuals use them as directed.
51 female and 17 male healthy volunteers (mean age 27 years SD 4.4) participated in a randomized placebo-controlled blinded trial of a single dose of an OTC, immediate-release niacin 500 mg (n = 33), or a single dose of placebo (n = 35) on an empty stomach. The outcomes measured were self-reported incidence of flushing and other adverse effects.
33 volunteers on niacin (100%) and 1 volunteer on placebo (3%) flushed (relative risk 35, 95% confidence interval (CI) 6.8–194.7). Mean time to flushing on niacin was 18.2 min (95% CI: 12.7–23.6); mean duration of flushing was 75.4 min (95% CI: 62.5–88.2). Other adverse effects occurred commonly in the niacin group: chills (51.5% vs. 0%, P < .0001), generalized pruritus (75% vs. 0%, P = <.001), gastrointestinal upset (30% vs. 3%, P = .005), and cutaneous tingling (30% vs. 0%, P = <.001). Six participants did not tolerate the adverse effects of niacin and 3 required medical attention.
Clinicians counseling patients about niacin should alert patients not only about flushing but also about gastrointestinal symptoms, the most severe in this study. They should not trust that patients would receive information about these side effects or their prevention (with aspirin) from the OTC packet insert.
PMCID: PMC280687  PMID: 14614780
Over-the-counter; Randomized controlled trial; Niacin
2.  The pharmacokinetics of the interstitial space in humans 
The pharmacokinetics of extracellular solutes is determined by the blood-tissue exchange kinetics and the volume of distribution in the interstitial space in the different organs. This information can be used to develop a general physiologically based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) model applicable to most extracellular solutes.
The human pharmacokinetic literature was surveyed to tabulate the steady state and equilibrium volume of distribution of the solutes mannitol, EDTA, morphine-6-glucuronide, morphine-3-glucuronide, inulin and β-lactam antibiotics with a range of protein binding (amoxicillin, piperacillin, cefatrizine, ceforanide, flucloxacillin, dicloxacillin). A PBPK data set was developed for extracellular solutes based on the literature for interstitial organ volumes. The program PKQuest was used to generate the PBPK model predictions. The pharmacokinetics of the protein (albumin) bound β-lactam antibiotics were characterized by two parameters: 1) the free fraction of the solute in plasma; 2) the interstitial albumin concentration. A new approach to estimating the capillary permeability is described, based on the pharmacokinetics of the highly protein bound antibiotics.
About 42% of the total body water is extracellular. There is a large variation in the organ distribution of this water – varying from about 13% of total tissue water for skeletal muscle, up to 70% for skin and connective tissue. The weakly bound antibiotics have flow limited capillary-tissue exchange kinetics. The highly protein bound antibiotics have a significant capillary permeability limitation. The experimental pharmacokinetics of the 11 solutes is well described using the new PBPK data set and PKQuest.
Only one adjustable parameter (systemic clearance) is required to completely characterize the PBPK for these extracellular solutes. Knowledge of just this systemic clearance allows one to predict the complete time course of the absolute drug concentrations in the major organs. PKQuest is freely available .
PMCID: PMC194216  PMID: 12890292
3.  Piperacillin induced bone marrow suppression: a case report 
Piperacillin (and piperacillin/tazobactam) is a commonly prescribed antibiotic and is generally considered safe. We report a case of piperacillin induced bone marrow suppression.
Case presentation
A 19-year-old boy was being treated with piperacillin followed by piperacillin/tazobactam for infected pancreatic pseudocyst. After 21 days of treatment, he developed neutropenia and thrombocytopenia. These reversed promptly after stopping piperacillin/tazobactam. The time course of events suggested that piperacillin was the cause of bone marrow suppression in this patient.
Bone marrow suppression is a serious adverse effect of piperacillin, which should be kept in mind while treating patients with this drug.
PMCID: PMC165417  PMID: 12791166
4.  The use of a physiologically based pharmacokinetic model to evaluate deconvolution measurements of systemic absorption 
An unknown input function can be determined by deconvolution using the systemic bolus input function (r) determined using an experimental input of duration ranging from a few seconds to many minutes. The quantitative relation between the duration of the input and the accuracy of r is unknown. Although a large number of deconvolution procedures have been described, these routines are not available in a convenient software package.
Four deconvolution methods are implemented in a new, user-friendly software program (PKQuest, ). Three of these methods are characterized by input parameters that are adjusted by the user to provide the "best" fit. A new approach is used to determine these parameters, based on the assumption that the input can be approximated by a gamma distribution. Deconvolution methodologies are evaluated using data generated from a physiologically based pharmacokinetic model (PBPK).
Results and Conclusions
The 11-compartment PBPK model is accurately described by either a 2 or 3-exponential function, depending on whether or not there is significant tissue binding. For an accurate estimate of r the first venous sample should be at or before the end of the constant infusion and a long (10 minute) constant infusion is preferable to a bolus injection. For noisy data, a gamma distribution deconvolution provides the best result if the input has the form of a gamma distribution. For other input functions, good results are obtained using deconvolution methods based on modeling the input with either a B-spline or uniform dense set of time points.
PMCID: PMC153531  PMID: 12659643

Results 1-4 (4)