Population pharmacokinetics, optimised design and sample size determination for rifampicin, isoniazid, ethambutol and pyrazinamide in the mouse

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The current first-line therapy for drug-susceptible tuberculosis consists of rifampicin (RIF), isoniazid (INH), pyrazinamide (PZA) and ethambutol (EMB). In this study, we determined the population pharmacokinetics (PopPK) of RIF, INH, EMB and PZA using original experimental sampling designs for single-dose intravenous (IV) and single- and multiple-dose oral administration studies in the mouse model, and used these PopPK models to develop and evaluate new, more informative sampling designs with the aim of reducing the number of animals required for each drug.

The RIF, INH, EMB and PZA blood concentrations after single oral and IV doses and multiple-dose oral administrations based on the original designs were used in the PopPK analysis using NONMEM software. The final PopPK models described the data well. Stochastic simulation and estimation were used to optimise the designs. The relative bias and relative imprecision of each pharmacokinetic parameter for each drug were derived and assessed to choose the final designs. The final single-dose IV and oral designs included up to eight samples per mouse with a total of 24 mice required for RIF and EMB and 33 mice for INH and PZA. In the new multiple-dose (zipper) oral designs, the mice were divided into two groups of three per dose, and four samples were taken from each mouse to cover all seven or eight sampling time points. The final number of mice required for the multiple-dose oral designs was 30 for RIF, INH and EMB, 36 for PZA. The number of mice required in the new designs for RIF, INH and EMB was decreased by up to 7-fold and the relative bias and relative imprecision in the parameter estimates were at least similar to those in the original designs.

Graphical abstract

Predicted log blood concentrations versus time based on the new population pharmacokinetic models after single-dose intravenous (IV) or single-dose oral (PO) or PO steady-state (SS) rifampicin administration. The sampling time points in the new design for single-dose administration are indicated by * on the plot. For the multiple-dose administration design (zipper design), half of the animals were sampled according to Symbol in black and the other half according to Symbol in grey.

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