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      Population pharmacokinetic modeling to facilitate dose selection of tapentadol in the pediatric population

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          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.


          This analysis provides an example of a model-based approach for a dose recommendation to be used in an efficacy trial in the pediatric population. Uniform dosing based on bodyweight was proposed for the treatment of acute pain in children aged from 2 to <18 years.

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          Most cited references 25

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          Pain and its effects in the human neonate and fetus.

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            Impact of pharmacometric analyses on new drug approval and labelling decisions: a review of 198 submissions between 2000 and 2008.

            Pharmacometric analyses have become an increasingly important component of New Drug Application (NDA) and Biological License Application (BLA) submissions to the US FDA to support drug approval, labelling and trial design decisions. Pharmacometrics is defined as a science that quantifies drug, disease and trial information to aid drug development, therapeutic decisions and/or regulatory decisions. In this report, we present the results of a survey evaluating the impact of pharmacometric analyses on regulatory decisions for 198 submissions during the period from 2000 to 2008. Pharmacometric review of NDAs included independent, quantitative analyses by FDA pharmacometricians, even when such analysis was not conducted by the sponsor, as well as evaluation of the sponsor's report. During 2000-2008, the number of reviews with pharmacometric analyses increased dramatically and the number of reviews with an impact on approval and labelling also increased in a similar fashion. We also present the impact of pharmacometric analyses on selection of paediatric dosing regimens, approval of regimens that had not been directly studied in clinical trials and provision of evidence of effectiveness to support a single pivotal trial. Case studies are presented to better illustrate the role of pharmacometric analyses in regulatory decision making.
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              The changing balance of brainstem-spinal cord modulation of pain processing over the first weeks of rat postnatal life.

              Brainstem-spinal cord connections play an essential role in adult pain processing, and the modulation of spinal pain network excitability by brainstem nuclei is known to contribute to hyperalgesia and chronic pain. Less well understood is the role of descending brainstem pathways in young animals when pain networks are more excitable and exposure to injury and stress can lead to permanent modulation of pain processing. Here we show that up to postnatal day 21 (P21) in the rat, the rostroventral medulla of the brainstem (RVM) exclusively facilitates spinal pain transmission but that after this age (P28 to adult), the influence of the RVM shifts to biphasic facilitation and inhibition. Graded electrical microstimulation of the RVM at different postnatal ages revealed a robust shift in the balance of descending control of both spinal nociceptive flexion reflex EMG activity and individual dorsal horn neuron firing properties, from excitation to inhibition, beginning after P21. The shift in polarity of descending control was also observed following excitotoxic lesions of the RVM in adult and P21 rats. In adults, RVM lesions decreased behavioural mechanical sensory reflex thresholds, whereas the same lesion in P21 rats increased thresholds. These data demonstrate, for the first time, the changing postnatal influence of the RVM in spinal nociception and highlight the central role of descending brainstem control in the maturation of pain processing.

                Author and article information

                J Pain Res
                J Pain Res
                Journal of Pain Research
                14 October 2019
                : 12
                : 2835-2850
                [1 ]Grünenthal GmbH , Aachen, Germany
                [2 ]Division of Paediatric Pharmacology and Pharmacometrics, University of Basel Children’s Hospital , Basel, Switzerland
                [3 ]Division of Clinical Pharmacology, Children’s National Medical Center , Washington, DC, USA
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Estelle WatsonGrünenthal GmbH , Zieglerstraße 6, 52078Aachen, GermanyTel +49 241 569 2141 Email estelle.watson@grunenthal.com
                © 2019 Watson et al.

                This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms ( https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php).

                Page count
                Figures: 5, Tables: 4, References: 34, Pages: 16
                Original Research


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