Bumetanide is a loop diuretic with a rapid onset and short duration of action. Pharmacological and clinical studies have shown that 1 mg bumetanide has a diuretic potency equivalent to approximately 40 mg furosemide. The major site of bumetanide action is the ascending limb of the loop of Henle.
The mode of action has been determined through various clearance studies in both humans and experimental animals. Bumetanide inhibits sodium reabsorption in the ascending limb of the loop of Henle, as shown by marked reduction of free-water clearance (CH2O) during hydration and tubular free-water reabsorption (TCH2O) during hydropenia. Reabsorption of chloride in the ascending limb is also blocked by bumetanide, and bumetanide is somewhat more chloruretic than natriuretic.
Potassium excretion is also increased by bumetanide, in a dose-related fashion.
Bumetanide may have an additional action in the proximal tubule. Since phosphate reabsorption takes place largely in the proximal tubule, phosphaturia during bumetanide-induced diuresis is indicative of this additional action. This is further supported by the reduction in the renal clearance of bumetanide by probenecid, associated with diminution in the natriuretic response. This proximal tubular activity does not seem to be related to an inhibition of carbonic anhydrase. Bumetanide does not appear to have a noticeable action on the distal tubule.
Bumetanide decreases uric acid excretion and increases serum uric acid. Diuresis starts within minutes following an intravenous injection and reaches maximum levels within 15 to 30 minutes.
Several pharmacokinetic studies have shown that bumetanide, administered orally or parenterally, is eliminated rapidly in humans, with a half-life of between 1 and 1½ hours. Plasma protein-binding is in the range of 94% to 96%.
Oral administration of carbon-14 labeled bumetanide to human volunteers revealed that 81% of the administered radioactivity was excreted in the urine, 45% of it as unchanged drug. Urinary and biliary metabolites identified in this study were formed by oxidation of the N-butyl side chain. Biliary excretion of bumetanide amounted to only 2% of the administered dose.
Elimination of bumetanide appears to be considerably slower in neonatal patients compared with adults, possibly because of immature renal and hepatobiliary function in this population. Small pharmacokinetic studies of intravenous bumetanide in preterm and full-term neonates with respiratory disorders have reported an apparent half-life of approximately 6 hours with a range up to 15 hours and a serum clearance ranging from 0.2 to 1.1 mL/min/kg. In a population of neonates receiving bumetanide for volume overload, mean serum clearance rates were 2.17 mL/min/kg in patients less than 2 months of age and 3.8 mL/min/kg in patients aged 2 to 6 months. Mean serum half-life of bumetanide was 2.5 hours and 1.5 hours in patients aged less than 2 months and those aged 2 to 6 months, respectively. Elimination half-life decreased considerably during the first month of life, from a mean of approximately 6 hours at birth to approximately 2.4 hours at 1 month of age.
In preterm neonates, mean serum concentrations following a single 0.05 mg/kg dose ranged from 126 mcg/L at 1 hour to 57 mcg/L at 8 hours. In another study, mean serum concentrations following a single 0.05 mg/kg dose were 338 ng/mL at 30 minutes and 176 ng/mL after 4 hours. A single dose of 0.1 mg/kg produced mean serum levels of 314 ng/mL at 1 hour, and 196 ng/mL at 6 hours. Mean volume of distribution in neonates has been reported to range from 0.26 L/kg to 0.39 L/kg.
The degree of protein binding of bumetanide in cord sera from healthy neonates was approximately 97%, suggesting the potential for bilirubin displacement. A study using pooled sera from critically ill neonates found that bumetanide at concentrations of 0.5 to 50 mcg/mL, but not 0.25 mcg/mL, caused a linear increase in unbound bilirubin concentrations.
In 56 infants aged 4 days to 6 months, bumetanide doses ranging from 0.005 mg/kg to 0.1 mg/kg were studied for pharmacodynamic effect. Peak bumetanide excretion rates increased linearly with increasing doses of drug. Maximal diuretic effect was observed at a bumetanide excretion rate of about 7 mcg/kg/hr, corresponding to doses of 0.035 to 0.040 mg/kg. Higher doses produced a higher bumetanide excretion rate but no increase in diuretic effect. Urine flow rate peaked during the first hour after drug administration in 80% of patients and by 3 hours in all patients.
In a group of ten geriatric subjects between the ages of 65 and 73 years, total bumetanide clearance was significantly lower (1.8 ± 0.3 mL/min/kg) compared with younger subjects (2.9 ± 0.2 mL/min/kg) after a single oral bumetanide 0.5 mg dose. Maximum plasma concentrations were higher in geriatric subjects (16.9 ± 1.8 ng/mL) compared with younger subjects (10.3 ± 1.5 ng/mL). Urine flow rate and total excretion of sodium and potassium were increased less in the geriatric subjects compared with younger subjects, although potassium excretion and fractional sodium excretion were similar between the two age groups. Nonrenal clearance, bioavailability, and volume of distribution were not significantly different between the two groups.