Pharmacokinetics of the respiratory analeptic ethimizol, 4,5-bis(methylcarba-moyl)-1-ethylimidazole, with recently recognized nootropic properties, its metabolite 4-carbamoyl-5-methylcarbamoyl-1-ethylimidazole and of two metabolites of unknown structure was studied in plasma of rats after intravenous administration of the [2-14C]-labelled compound in 5 doses: 1.1, 3.3, 10, 20, and 30 mg/kg. The apparently monoexponential time course of dose normalized ethimizol plasma concentrations were not superimposable and the derived pharmacokinetic parameters were dose-dependent. The elimination rate constant and the initial volume of distribution decreased with increasing dose. The AUC versus dose relationship displayed disproportionate increases with increasing dose. Plasma ethimizol failed to obey the Michaelis-Menten kinetics and in an attempt to rationalize the observed nonlinearity a complete competitive product inhibition was suggested. Similar to the parent drug, the three metabolites exhibited a dinstinctly dose-dependent behavior as could be deduced from their dose-normalized concentration-time curves.

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