Bioequivalence Between Generic and Branded Lamotrigine in People With Epilepsy: The EQUIGEN Randomized Clinical Trial

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Abstract

Importance

Switching between generic antiepileptic drugs is a highly debated issue that affects both clinical care and overall health care costs.

Objective

To evaluate the single-dose pharmacokinetic bioequivalence of 3 (1 branded and 2 generic drugs) on-market, immediate-release lamotrigine drug products.

Design, Setting, and Participants

The Equivalence Among Antiepileptic Drug Generic and Brand Products in People With Epilepsy (EQUIGEN) single-dose study is a crossover, prospective, sequence-randomized, replicate pharmacokinetic study conducted at 5 US academic epilepsy centers. Fifty adults (≥18 years) with epilepsy who were taking concomitant antiepileptic drugs and not currently receiving lamotrigine were enrolled between July 18, 2013, and January 19, 2015. Every participant was randomly assigned to 1 of 3 equivalent sequences, each comprising 6 study periods, during which they had blood draws before and after medication administration. Forty-nine participants were included in intention-to-treat analyses.

Interventions

Participants received a single 25-mg dose of immediate-release lamotrigine at the start of each period, with the branded and the 2 most disparate generic products each studied twice. Lamotrigine was selected as the antiepileptic drug of interest because of its wide use, publications indicating problems with generic switches, and complaints to the US Food and Drug Administration regarding generic products. Both participants and study personnel were blinded to the specific generic products selected.

Main Outcomes and Measures

The primary outcome was bioequivalence between products. Maximum plasma concentration (Cmax) and area under the concentration–time curve (AUC) were compared, and average bioequivalence (ABE) was established if the 90% CIs of the ratios of the 2 products were within equivalence limits (80%-125%).

Results

Of the 50 randomized participants, 49 (98%) received all 3 lamotrigine products and completed at least 3 pharmacokinetic assessments and 46 (92%) completed all 6 pharmacokinetic assessments. Among the 49 participants, 28 (57%) were men and 21 (43%) were women, 42 (86%) self-identified as white, and 46 (16) years was the mean (SD) age. The 3 drug products were considered bioequivalent because the 90% CIs were within equivalence limits (lowest and highest CI limits for Cmax, 92.6% and 110.4%; for AUC0-96, 96.9% and 101.9%). Replicate testing demonstrated no significant differences in within-subject variability across the 3 products (likelihood ratios, χ22 for log-transformed variables: AUC0-96, 2.58; Cmax, 0.64; and AUC0-∞, 4.05; P ≥ .13) and that the 3 products were also bioequivalent according to scaled ABE and individual bioequivalence criteria with no subject × formulation interaction (Cmax, 0.00; AUC0-96, 0.54; and AUC0-∞, 0.36; P ≥ .76).

Conclusions and Relevance

This study provides evidence that the disparate lamotrigine products studied are bioequivalent when tested in people with epilepsy taking concomitant antiepileptic drugs.

Trial Registration

clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT01733394

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