The main aim of this analysis was to characterize the pharmacokinetics (PK) of the strong analgesic tapentadol in 2-year-old to <18-year-old patients with acute pain and to inform the optimal dosing strategy for a confirmatory efficacy trial in this patient population.
The analysis dataset included tapentadol concentrations obtained from 92 pediatric patients receiving a single tapentadol oral solution (OS) dose of 1.0 mg/kg bodyweight in two single-dose PK clinical trials. Population PK analysis was performed using nonlinear mixed effects modeling. Simulations were performed to identify tapentadol OS doses in pediatric subjects (2 to <18 years) that would produce exposures similar to those in adults receiving safe and efficacious doses of tapentadol IR (50–100 mg every 4 hrs).
Tapentadol PK in children aged from 2 to <18 years was best described by a one-compartment model. Mean population apparent clearance and apparent volume of distribution for a typical subject weighing 45 kg were 170 L/h and 685 L, respectively. Clearance, expressed in bodyweight units as L/h/kg, decreased with increasing age whereas total clearance (L/h) increased with increasing age. Model-based simulations suggested that a tapentadol OS dose of 1.25 mg/kg to children and adolescents aged 2 to <18 years would result in efficacious tapentadol exposures similar to those in adults receiving tapentadol immediate release 50–100 mg every 4 hrs. The proposed tapentadol OS dose was subsequently applied in a confirmatory efficacy trial in 2 to <18-year-old patients suffering from acute postsurgical pain.