Improving the Clinical Pharmacologic Assessment of Abuse Potential: Part 1 Regulatory Context and Risk Management

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PurposeThis article brings to the attention of drug developers the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA's) recent final Guidance to Industry on Assessment of Abuse Potential and provides practical suggestions about compliance with the Guidance.ProceduresThe Guidance areas are reviewed, analyzed, and placed in the context of current scientific knowledge and best practices to mitigate regulatory risk.FindingsThe Guidance provides substantial new detail on what needs to be done at all stages of drug development for central nervous system–active drugs. However, because many psychopharmacologic agents have unique preclinical and clinical features, the plan for each agent needs to be not only carefully prepared but also reviewed and approved by the FDA. Examples are provided where assumptions about interpretation of the Guidance can delay development.ConclusionsIf the expertise and experience needed for assessing abuse potential during drug development do not exist within a company, external preclinical and clinical expert should be involved. Consultation with the FDA is encouraged and important because the specific requirements for each drug will vary.

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