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Eur J Pharm Sci. 1998 Apr;6(2):87-91.

Bioequivalence: switchability and scaling.

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  • 1Drug Metabolism, Drug Disposition Research Group, College of Pharmacy and Nutrition, Saskatoon, SK, S7N 5C9, Canada.


This study demonstrated that the mere fact that two multisource drug formulations are bioequivalent with the same reference formulation does not guarantee that they are bioequivalent with each other. The present unscaled bioequivalence limits (BEL) of 0.80 to 1.25 permitted far greater deviation from unity of the geometric mean ratio (GMR) for multisource formulations with low within-subject variabilities than for drugs with high variabilities. Scaling the BEL drastically reduced the maximum deviation from unity of GMRs for two multisource formulations each bioequivalent with the same reference product while broadening the BEL for highly variable drugs. It was concluded that scaling was consistent with the principle of switchability for toxic drugs with low variability and for safe, highly variable drugs. On the other hand, scaling need not be applied to safe drugs with low variability and should not be applied in the unusual case of a highly variable drug with a narrow therapeutic range.

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