This article discusses the conduct of a human abuse potential study as outlined in the Food and Drug Administration Final Guidance to Industry on Assessment of Abuse Potential. In addition, areas where alternative approaches should be considered are proposed.Procedures
The design, end points, conduct, and interpretation of the human abuse potential study were reviewed, analyzed, and placed in the context of current scientific knowledge and best practices to mitigate regulatory risk and expedite drug development.Findings
The guidance is based on regulatory needs and current scientific practices. However, the reliability and utility of such studies can be improved with better subject selection, data collection, standardization of data collection and staff training, and a better understanding of the measurement properties of the dependent measures.Conclusions
The guidance provides a useful framework for conduct of human abuse potential studies. However, design assumptions, poor choice of end points, failure to consider alternate approaches, and limited experience with interpretation can result in an inadequate study or one that does not fairly represent the abuse potential of a new chemical entity. Methodologic development is needed to strengthen the regulatory framework. The Food and Drug Administration or the National Institutes on Drug Abuse could take a targeted initiative to encourage this work.