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Research Article

Antipyrine, paracetamol, and lignocaine elimination in chronic liver disease.

Br Med J 1977; 1 doi: (Published 28 May 1977) Cite this as: Br Med J 1977;1:1384
  1. J A Forrest,
  2. N D Finlayson,
  3. K K Adjepon-Yamoah,
  4. L F Prescott


    The plasma half lives of antipyrine, paracetamol, and lignocaine given by mouth were measured in 23 patients with stable chronic liver diseases of varying severity. Fifteen patients received all three drugs and 19 at least two. The half life of paracetamol was abnormally prolonged in nine out of 17 patients (mean 2-9 hours, normal 2-0 hours), of antipyrine in 10 out of 19 patients (mean 30-4 hours, normal 12-0 hours), and of lignocaine in 19 out of 21 patients (mean 6-6 hours, normal 1-4 hours). Prolongation of the half lives of all three drugs was significantly correlated with an increase of the vitamin-K1-corrected prothrombin time ratio and a reduction in serum albumin concentration. There was no correlation with serum bilirubin concentration or serum alanine aminotransferase activity. This suggests that impaired drug elimination was related to depressed hepatic protein synthesis. Considerable prolongation of the half life of one drug was invariably associated with delayed elimination of the others. The half life of lignocaine, however, was always the most prolonged and was a highly sensitive indicator of hepatic dysfunction. The pharmacokinetic characteristics of a drug as well as the severity of liver disease should be taken into account when considering drug dosage in patients with chronic liver disease.