Inter- and intra-subject variability in ethanol pharmacokinetic parameters: Effects of testing interval and dose

Lisa Yelland, Jaimi P. Burns, D. Noel Sims, Amy B. Salter, Jason M. White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Calculation of a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time of an offence by forward or back-extrapolation, using population average values for ethanol pharmacokinetic parameters or a single estimate of individual specific parameters, ignores the possibility of inter- and intra-subject variability. In order to estimate inter- and intra-subject variability in the elimination rate and absorption rate, BAC was measured over time in 12 male volunteers on 4 occasions. Subjects received 0.44 g kg-1 body weight of ethanol on the first study day, and 0.70 g kg-1 body weight on subsequent study days 1, 11 and 12 weeks later, to enable comparisons in variability over short and long time periods and when the same or different doses were administered. Evidence of both inter- and intra-subject variability was found, with inter-subject variability substantially smaller than intra-subject variability when the dose varied. Forensically important differences in pharmacokinetic parameters were observed within individuals between occasions. These findings could have an important impact on medico-legal issues related to ethanol pharmacokinetics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-72
Number of pages8
JournalForensic Science International
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 25 Feb 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Absorption rate
  • Elimination rate
  • Ethanol
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Variability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

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