• Evaluation of In Vitro-In Vivo Correlations in Topical and Transdermal Drug Delivery Systems by In Vitro Permeation Testing and Pharmacokinetic Studies for Bioavailability/Bioequivalence and Heat Effect Assessment

      Zhang, Qingzhao; Stinchcomb, Audra L.; 0000-0003-4061-0690 (2022)
      In vitro-in vivo correlation (IVIVC) has gained great attention in the biopharmaceutical field because of its potential ability to predict drug performance in vivo, eliminating costly and time-consuming clinical trials. However, the regulatory guidance on IVIVC has only been established for extended-release oral dosage forms, and not for topical and transdermal formulations. An in vitro model is necessary to establish IVIVC. The present work showed that the in vitro permeation test (IVPT) using excised human skin can quantify and distinguish bioavailability (BA)/bioequivalence (BE) between a brand-name topical metronidazole gel, a bioequivalent generic gel, and a non-bioequivalent generic cream. A harmonized pharmacokinetic (PK) study in healthy human subjects was conducted to evaluate IVIVC. The scaled average bioequivalence approach was used to establish BE between the gels and distinguish the cream from the gels. The metronidazole PK study didn’t provide reproducible serum levels; therefore, IVIVC’s predictability was weak. The present work also showed IVPT’s ability to predict BA for two rivastigmine TDS under transient heat exposure. A harmonized PK study was conducted. A Level C and a Level A IVIVC were established under baseline temperature (32.0°C). IVPT demonstrated significantly increased maximum flux for both TDS with a comparable fold enhancement. However, the PK study didn’t demonstrate a consistent heat effect on maximum serum concentrations of rivastigmine under elevated temperature (42.0 °C). The IVIVC’s predictability for the heat effect was therefore weak. Encouragingly, findings suggested that IVPT is useful in assessing BE for topical drug products. For hydrophilic drugs, such as metronidazole, it is possible that IVPT may have limited predictability in vivo if significant absorption of the drug occurs via the shunt route, and/or if significant reproducible systemic absorption can’t be quantified from dosing the semisolid over a large surface area. In conclusion, IVPT was able to quantify the magnitude of heat effect on the absorption from rivastigmine TDS, and data also suggested that under baseline temperature, IVPT will likely show good predictability of TDS performance in vivo. However, experimental conditions should be further altered to validate IVPT’s usefulness in the prediction of TDS BA in vivo under the heat exposure.