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      Sampling times and genotyping concerns in bioequivalence evaluation of branded and generic formulations

      1 , 2 , 2

      Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management

      Dove Medical Press

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          Abstract

          Dear editor We read with great interest the study by Del Tacca et al,1 who performed a comparative pharmacokinetic (PK) and pharmacodynamic (PD) evaluation of branded and generic formulations of meloxicam in healthy male subjects, and concluded that the two products can be used interchangeably in clinical practice. We especially appreciate their exploratory study on the PD/PK relationship which provides an important reference for bioequivalence studies of analgesics. However, we found two points worthy of discussion and we would like to share our perspectives in the following paragraphs. Sampling times The design of the sampling times plays an important role in the reliability of the bioequivalence evaluation. A sufficient number of samples to adequately describe the plasma concentration-time profile should be collected. The sampling schedule should include frequent sampling around predicted time to maximal plasma concentration (Tmax) to provide a reliable estimate of peak exposure, and it should also cover the plasma concentration time curve long enough to provide a reliable estimate of the extent of exposure which will be achieved if area under the plasma concentration-time curve (AUC) from time zero to the last measurable concentration (AUC(0–t)) covers at least 80% of AUC from time zero to infinity (AUC(0–inf)).2 Generally at least three to four samples are needed during the terminal log-linear phase.2 The total sampling points (not including predose) should not be less than twelve.3 However, only eight blood samples, after dosing, per subject were taken in the study by Del Tacca et al.1 The duration of sampling is usually at least three times the terminal half-life (t1/2 β) of the measured compound for immediate-release products.3 However, a sampling period longer than 72 hours is not considered necessary for any immediate release formulation irrespective of the half-life of the drug.2 Literature shows that t1/2 β of meloxicam is approximately 20 hours.4,5 Theoretically, the last sampling point should be at least 60 hours after ingestion of meloxicam instead of 24 hours after dosing as in Del Tacca et al’s study. The mean AUC(0–24) and AUC(0–inf) values of meloxicam derived from a single dose of 15 mg Mobic (Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH, Ingelheim, Germany) were 18.49 mg × h/L and 33.25 mg × h/L, respectively. Meloxicam AUC(0–t) covered only 55.6% of the AUC(0–inf), which was not in accordance with the criteria (≥80%) established by European Medicines Agency (EMA) guidelines. Although this article notes that the main study objective is not to investigate the complete PK profiles of meloxicam in healthy volunteers but rather to compare PK and PD patterns between branded and generic meloxicam, the results of bioequivalence evaluation would be more convincing if the industry guideline was well followed, especially regarding that the lower limit of quantification (LLOQ) for the analytical method established by Del Tacca et al1 has met the criteria of EMA (ie, higher than 1/20 of maximum concentration [Cmax]).2 Genotyping of subjects Potential sources of variability, such as genetic polymorphism, should be identified and taken into account when designing the bioequivalence study. Poor metabolizers (PMs) may be excluded from bioequivalence studies in order to minimize risk to subjects (ie, possible harm caused by prolonged exposure to high drug concentrations).6 EMA recommends that phenotyping and/or genotyping of subjects may be considered for safety or pharmacokinetic reasons.2 China’s State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) and The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) guidelines for the conduct of bioequivalence studies specify that studies could be performed in subjects of known phenotype or genotype for the polymorphism in question if a drug is known to be subject to major genetic polymorphism.7,8 However, global consensus is unavailable with regard to the inclusion or exclusion of poor versus extensive metabolizers (EMs) as a method to decrease variability. We performed a PubMed search covering the period from 1988 to 15 September 2013, using the search terms “bioequivalence” and “genetic polymorphism or phenotype or genotype” and additional filters (species: humans; languages: English). Forty-three articles were detected. Inclusion criteria included studies addressing the relationship of bioequivalence evaluation and genetic polymorphism in metabolizing enzyme or transporter. Four articles were finally included under this search strategy. The full text of each article was critically reviewed, and data interpretation was performed (Table 1).9–12 In bioequivalence studies, intra-individual variability is critical in determining sample size. Highly variable drugs are generally defined as those for which within-subject variability in AUC and/or Cmax >30%.2 In order to conduct an acceptable bioequivalence study of a highly variable drug, higher numbers of subjects may be needed.13 With regard to the study by Del Tacca et al, coefficient of variation values were slightly above the recommended upper limit of 30% (34% for AUC(0–24) and 33% for Cmax). Genetic polymorphisms in CYP2C9 could be one of the major source of pharmacokinetic variation. CYP2C9 genotype is expected to impact the clearance of meloxicam.14 There are several allelic variants of CYP2C9, the most common are the CYP2C9*2 and CYP2C9*3, with an allele frequency in the Caucasian population respectively of 8%–18% and 4%–10%. CYP2C9*2 and CYP2C9*3 alleles show impaired activity. Subjects with genotype CYP2C9 *1/*1 (frequency of 70% in the Caucasian population) are considered normal metabolizers; individuals CYP2C9 *1/*2 (frequency of 16% in Caucasian populations), and *1/*3 (frequency of 10% in the Caucasian population) are considered poor metabolizers; subjects with genotype of *2/*2 (frequency of 1%), *2/*3 (frequency 1%) or *3/*3 (frequency of 0.3%) are very poor metabolizers.15,16 Meloxicam is primarily metabolized to a 5′-hydroxymethyl metabolite by CYP2C9 (major) and CYP3A4 (minor) and the fraction of total cytochrome P450 metabolism catalyzed by CYP2C9 in EM (wild type, CYP2C9*1/*1) subjects (f m,CYP2C9(EM)) is ∼0.8. Tenoxicam is a cyclooxygenase (COX) inhibitor similar to meloxicam, with the same value of f m,CYP2C9(EM).14 Salem et al recommended that CYP2C9 genotyping prior to a bioequivalence study of tenoxicam is a useful approach.9 So we postulate that it may also be applicable to meloxicam. Furthermore, whether to perform pharmacogenetic screening prior to bioequivalence study also depends on population source. With regard to CYP2C9 genetic polymorphism, frequencies of CYP2C9*1/*3, CYP2C9*1/*2 in Chinese populations are 5.36% and 0.28%,17 respectively, obviously lower than those in Caucasians (ie, 10%, 16%, respectively). Therefore, genotyping prior to bioequivalence evaluation seems unnecessary for Chinese participants. On the contrary, with regard to CYP2C19 polymorphism, the situation is just the opposite. Incidence rate of CYP2C19 PMs in Chinese populations is far higher than that in Caucasians (25% versus 2%–5%), indicating that it is very necessary to perform genotyping or phenotyping of CYP2C19 prior to bioequivalence study of typical CYP2C19 substrates in Chinese subjects. Del Tacca et al’s study along with our perspectives may introduce an interesting topic. As stated by Del Tacca et al, prescribing physicians cannot access any information on the preregistration development of generic drugs, and they can only trust that the regulatory authority approved a specific generic product in full accordance with recommended guidelines. Anyhow, bioequivalence study is a method of evaluating quality of generic formulations. For this purpose, both study design and variation factor control cannot be overestimated.

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          Most cited references 26

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          Bioequivalence and other unresolved issues in generic drug substitution.

          Substitution of generic drugs for brand-name products is highly controversial and often is met with suspicion by health care providers and patients. Historically, the debate has focused on the issue of bioequivalence, and clinical practice has identified a number of drug classes for which generic substitution should be approached with caution. Current bioequivalence requirements are based on a measure of average bioequivalence; however, there are fears that use of this measure may be inappropriate in the case of a drug with a narrow or wide therapeutic range or high intrasubject or intersubject variability. Under these circumstances, measures of individual and population bioequivalence are proposed to be more accurate than measures of average bioequivalence. This paper addresses issues of bioequivalence and other concerns with generic drug substitution. I conducted a MEDLINE search of the English-language literature containing the key terms generic, multisource, quality, and brand and published between 1973 and 2003. The names of branded pharmaceuticals whose patents had recently expired (eg, Ventolin HFA, Adalat, Capoten, Tagamet HB 200, and Valium) also were used to search for articles on generic substitution. Reference lists of relevant articles also were searched. Bioequivalence issues are presented together with more general concerns over generic drug substitution, such as consumer perception of risk, differences in product and packaging appearance, and differences in excipients. The literature reviewed act to highlight a number of different drug categories and patient subpopulations for which generic substitution can still prove to be problematic. I recommend that health care providers continue to exercise caution in the consideration of generic drug substitution under certain circumstances.
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            CYP2C9 allelic variants: ethnic distribution and functional significance.

            Cytochrome P-450 (CYP) 2C9 CYP2C9 is a polymorphically expressed enzyme responsible for the metabolism of several clinically important drugs, some with a low therapeutic index. This review summarizes the structure-function relationship of the CYP2C9 promoter and coding regions, known polymorphisms, the functional significance of various CYP2C9 alleles in vitro and in vivo, and their population frequencies. In addition, possible molecular mechanisms underlying ethnic variability in the metabolism of CYP2C9 substrate drugs are discussed.
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              Guideline on the investigation of bioequivalence

              (2010)
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Ther Clin Risk Manag
                Ther Clin Risk Manag
                Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
                Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
                Dove Medical Press
                1176-6336
                1178-203X
                2013
                2013
                25 November 2013
                : 9
                : 463-468
                Affiliations
                [1 ]The Medical Ethics Committee, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, People’s Republic of China
                [2 ]Department of Pharmacy, The Second Affiliated Hospital, School of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, People’s Republic of China
                [1 ]Clinical Pharmacology Centre for Drug Experimentation, Pisa University Hospital, Pisa, Italy
                [2 ]Division of Pharmacology, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy
                [3 ]Geriatrics Unit, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Quan Zhou, Department of Pharmacy, The Second Affiliated Hospital, School of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Zhejiang 310009, People’s Republic of China, Tel +86 571 8778 4615, Fax +86 571 8702 2776, Email zhouquan142602@ 123456zju.edu.cn
                Correspondence: Mario Del Tacca, Clinical Pharmaology Centre for Drug Experimentation, Pisa University Hospital, 67 Via Roma, Pisa 56100, Italy, Tel +39 050 993 954, Fax +39 050 993 431, Email m.deltacca@ 123456gmail.com
                Article
                tcrm-9-463
                10.2147/TCRM.S54607
                3849151
                24353425
                © 2013 Zhao et al. This work is published by Dove Medical Press Limited, and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License

                The full terms of the License are available at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

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                Medicine

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