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Evidence for nonlinear accumulation of the ultrapotent fentanyl analog, carfentanil, after systemic administration to male rats.

08:00 EDT 6th April 2019 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "Evidence for nonlinear accumulation of the ultrapotent fentanyl analog, carfentanil, after systemic administration to male rats."

The current opioid overdose crisis is being exacerbated by illicitly manufactured fentanyl and its analogs. Carfentanil is a fentanyl analog that is 10,000-times more potent than morphine, but limited information is available about its pharmacology. The present study had two aims: 1) to validate a method for quantifying carfentanil and its metabolite norcarfentanil in small-volume samples, and 2) to use the method for examining pharmacodynamic-pharmacokinetic relationships in rats. The analytical method involved liquid-liquid extraction of plasma samples followed by quantitation of carfentanil and norcarfentanil using ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry (UHPLC-MS/MS). The method was validated following SWGTOX guidelines, and both analytes displayed limits of detection and quantification at 7.5 and 15 pg/mL, respectively. Male Sprague-Dawley rats fitted with jugular catheters and temperature transponders received subcutaneous carfentanil (1, 3 and 10 μg/kg) or saline. Repeated blood specimens were obtained over 8 h, along with pharmacodynamic measures including core temperature and catalepsy scores. Carfentanil produced dose-related hypothermia and catalepsy that lasted up to 8 h. Carfentanil C occurred at 15 min whereas metabolite C was at 1-2 h. Concentrations of both analytes increased in a dose-related fashion, but area-under-the-curve values were much greater than predicted after 10 μg/kg. Plasma half-life for carfentanil increased at higher doses. Our findings reveal that carfentanil produces marked hypothermia and catalepsy, which is accompanied by nonlinear accumulation of the drug at high doses. We hypothesize that impaired clearance of carfentanil in humans could contribute to life-threatening effects of this ultrapotent opioid agonist.

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Name: Neuropharmacology
ISSN: 1873-7064
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