There is no report documenting the plasma concentrations of tadalafil in children. This study was performed to evaluate the variability in the pharmacokinetics of tadalafil in children with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) treated routinely with the drug.
Plasma samples were taken twice (post- and predose) after repetitive oral administration, and the pharmacokinetic parameters (CL/F and V/F) in individual patients were estimated by the Bayesian method using the nonlinear mixed effects model. We also determined the unbound concentration of tadalafil using ultrafiltration.
Tadalafil was administered to 23 children aged between 0.25 and 17.4 years, with a mean age of 3.58 years. The mean (±SD) daily dose of tadalafil was 0.97 ± 0.41 mg/kg. Sixteen of the 23 children received bosentan concomitantly. The mean CL/F and V/F values of tadalafil were 0.149 L·h−1·kg−1 and 1.87 L/kg, respectively, which were higher than those reported in adults. No effects of age, bosentan, or the estimated glomerular filtration rate were observed on the CL/F value, indicating that other residual factors might account for the interindividual variability among children with PAH. The unbound tadalafil concentrations of the postdose samples ranged from 5.9 to 146 (46.9 ± 37.1) nmol/L, higher than the reported IC50 value of this phosphodiesterase-5 drug for humans (2–4 nmol/L, corresponding to 0.8–1.6 ng/mL).
We demonstrated variability in the total and unbound plasma concentrations of tadalafil in children. However, all children received the empirical doses of the drug; a mean dose of 0.97 mg·kg−1·d−1 showed sufficient unbound concentrations needed for half-maximal inhibition of human phosphodiesterase-5 in vitro. These observations may provide information for the proper use of tadalafil to treat children with PAH.