Statistical issues in a modeling approach to assessing bioequivalence or PK similarity with presence of sparsely sampled subjects.
ABSTRACT Drug development at different stages may require assessment of similarity of pharmacokinetics (PK). The common approach for such assessment when the difference is drug formulation is bioequivalence (BE), which employs a hypothesis test based on the evaluation of a 90% confidence interval for the ratio of average pharmacokinetic (PK) parameters. The role of formulation effect in BE assessment is replaced by subject population in PK similarity assessment. The traditional approach for BE requires that the PK parameters, primarily AUC and Cmax, be obtained from every individual. Unfortunately in many clinical circumstances, some or even all of the individuals may be sparsely sampled, making the individual evaluation difficult. In such cases, using models, particularly population models, becomes appealing. However, conducting an appropriate statistical test based on population modeling in a form consistent, at least in principle, with traditional 90% confidence interval approach is not so straightforward as it may appear. This manuscript proposes one such approach that can be applied to sparse sampling situations. The approach aims to maintain, as much as possible, the appropriateness of the hypothesis test. It is applied to data from clinical studies to address a need in drug development for assessment of PK similarity in different populations.