Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Clin Pharmacokinet. 1997 Aug;33(2):122-41.

Bioequivalence of chiral drugs. Stereospecific versus non-stereospecific methods.

Author information

  • 1College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa, USA. Reza.Mehvar@Drake.Edu


Guidelines for bioequivalence of non-racemic pharmaceuticals are abundant in the literature. However, few guidelines exist for the bioequivalence of racemic drugs which consist of 2 or more stereoisomers. The aim of this article is to address the question of whether the bioequivalence of racemic drugs should be based on the measurement of the individual enantiomers or that of the total drug. Several pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic cases are examined to test the validity of extrapolating the bioequivalence of racemic drugs to that of their individual enantiomers after administration of the racemate; simulation and experimental data are presented to support these cases. It is shown that for drugs which exhibit non-linear pharmacokinetics, the results of bioequivalence studies based on the total drug may differ from those based on the individual enantiomers. Similar discrepancies can be shown for a racemic drug with linear pharmacokinetics whose enantiomers substantially differ from each other in their pharmacokinetic parameters. Therefore, it is suggested that stereospecific assays be used for these drugs. Additionally, it is recommended that for racemic drugs which undergo chiral inversion, and for most products with modified release characteristics, the bioequivalence be assessed using stereospecific assays. Conversely, for racemic drugs with linear pharmacokinetics and minimal to modest stereoselectivity in their kinetic parameters, and for those with non-stereoselective pharmacodynamics, the use of stereospecific analytical methods are not warranted. Finally, the limited, controversial literature in favour of or against the use of stereospecific assays in bioequivalence of chiral drugs are reviewed and a preliminary guideline is proposed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Springer
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk