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Papers of the Week

Papers: 29 Jun 2024 - 5 Jul 2024

2024 Jul 02

Mol Pharm


A Continuous Intestinal Absorption Model to Predict Drug Enterohepatic Recirculation in Healthy Humans: Nalbuphine as a Model Substrate.


Korzekwa K, Nagar S, Clark D, Sciascia T, Hawi A


Nalbuphine (NAL) is a κ-agonist/μ-antagonist opioid being developed as an oral extended formulation (ER) for the treatment of chronic cough in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and itch in prurigo nodularis. NAL is extensively glucuronidated and likely undergoes enterohepatic recirculation (EHR). The purpose of this work is to develop pharmacokinetic models for NAL absorption and enterohepatic recirculation (EHR). Clinical pharmacokinetic (PK) data sets in healthy subjects from three trials that included IV, oral solution, and ER tablets in fed and fasted state and two published trials were used to parametrize a novel partial differential equation (PDE)-based model, termed “PDE-EHR” model. Experimental inputs included in vitro dissolution and permeability data. The model incorporates a continuous intestinal absorption framework, explicit liver and gall bladder compartments, and compartments for systemic drug disposition. The model was fully PDE-based with well-stirred compartments achieved by rapid diffusion. The PDE-EHR model accurately reproduces NAL concentration-time profiles for all clinical data sets. NAL disposition simulations required inclusion of both parent and glucuronide recirculation. Inclusion of intestinal P-glycoprotein efflux in the simulations suggests that NAL is not expected to be a victim or perpetrator of P-glycoprotein-mediated drug interactions. The PDE-EHR model is a novel tool to predict EHR and food/formulation effects on drug PK. The results strongly suggest that even intravenous dosing studies be conducted in fasted subjects when EHR is suspected. The modeling effort is expected to aid in improved prediction of dosing regimens and drug disposition in patient populations.