Regional intestinal drug permeation: Biopharmaceutics and drug development

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Graphical abstract

Regional small and large intestinal in vitro and in vivo permeation of five model compounds in various in vivo and in vitro intestinal absorption models (Sjoberg et al., 2013; Schedl, 1965; Gramatte et al., 1994; Fagerholm et al., 1997; Lennernas, 1998; Lindahl et al., 1998; Ungell et al., 1998; Nejdfors et al., 2000a, 2000b; Berggren et al., 2003; Dahan et al., 2009b).

Over the last 25 years, profound changes have been seen in both the development and regulation of pharmaceutical dosage forms, due primarily to the extensive use of the biopharmaceutical classification system (BCS) in both academia and industry. The BCS and the FDA scale-up and post-approval change guidelines were both developed during the 1990s and both are currently widely used to claim biowaivers. The development of the BCS and its wide acceptance were important steps in pharmaceutical science that contributed to the more rational development of oral dosage forms.

The effective permeation (Peff) of drugs through the intestine often depends on the combined outcomes of passive diffusion and multiple parallel transport processes. Site-specific jejunal Peff cannot reflect the permeability of the whole intestinal tract, since this varies along the length of the intestine, but is a useful approximation of the fraction of the oral dose that is absorbed. It appears that drugs with a jejunal Peff > 1.5 × 10−4 cm/s will be completely absorbed no matter which transport mechanisms are utilized. In this paper, historical clinical data originating from earlier open, single-pass perfusion studies have been used to calculate the Peff of different substances from sites in the jejunum and ileum.

More exploratory in vivo studies are required in order to obtain reliable data on regional intestinal drug absorption. The development of experimental and theoretical methods of assessing drug absorption from both small intestine and various sites in the colon is encouraged. Some of the existing human in vivo data are discussed in relation to commonly used cell culture models. It is crucial to accurately determine the input parameters, such as the regional intestinal Peff, as these will form the basis for the expected increase in modeling and simulation of all the processes involved in GI drug absorption, thus facilitating successful pharmaceutical development in the future. It is suggested that it would be feasible to use open, single-pass perfusion studies for the in vivo estimation of regional intestinal Peff, but that care should be taken in the study design to optimize the absorption conditions.

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