1. After intravenous administration to 19 subjects, aged 18–95 years, plasma diazepam concentrations were measured over 160 h. Plasma protein binding of diazepam was also measured in each subject.

2. The terminal plasma half-life of diazepam ranged from 15.0 to 125 h and was positively correlated with age (r = 0.797). Total plasma diazepam clearance was not correlated with age (r = −0.017).

3. The free fraction of diazepam ranged from 0.0137 to 0.0386 and was significantly correlated with age (r = +0.863). Free diazepam clearance, which ranged from 432 to 1870 ml/min, was also correlated with age (r = −0.717).

4. It is concluded that the increased sensitivity of the elderly to diazepam is, at least in part, due to pharmacokinetic factors.

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