Ultrafiltration (UF) is a conventional method for isolating the protein-unbound plasma fractions of therapeutic drugs. However, the ideal UF conditions for specific compounds remain largely unexplored. By comparing UF-derived unbound concentrations with the corresponding results obtained using a reference method, the authors sought to identify appropriate UF conditions for cefotaxime, cloxacillin, flucloxacillin, and piperacillin.
In vitro microdialysis (MD) with a no-net-flux approach was used as a reference method for plasma protein separation, for which UF performance was assessed. Four levels of relative centrifugal force (2500–11,290g) and 2 levels of temperature (37 vs. 22°C) during 10 minutes of UF centrifugation were evaluated. Ultrafiltrates and reference microdialysates were analyzed using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry to obtain unbound concentrations. After identifying the appropriate UF conditions in the spiked plasma samples, exploratory analyses of clinical samples (n = 10 per analyte) were performed.
Of the evaluated UF alternatives, the best overall agreement with the MD-derived reference concentrations was obtained with 11,290 g UF performed at 22°C. For cloxacillin specifically, 37°C UF yielded better agreement than 22°C UF at 11,290 g. Clinical sample analyses indicated minimal differences between 22°C and 37°C at 11,290 g UF for cefotaxime and piperacillin. However, consistently lower levels of unbound cloxacillin (median: −23%, IQR: −19% to −24%) and flucloxacillin (median: −27%, IQR: −21 to −34%) were observed after UF at 22°C versus 37°C.
For the evaluated UF device, 10 minutes of 11,290 g UF at 22°C is appropriate for flucloxacillin, cefotaxime, and piperacillin, and can arguably be justified for cloxacillin as well for laboratory practice purposes. Maintenance of 37°C during high-centrifugal UF may lead to overestimation, particularly for unbound flucloxacillin.