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Mol Pharm. 2004 Jan 12;1(1):85-96.

Molecular properties of WHO essential drugs and provisional biopharmaceutical classification.

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College of Pharmacy, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1065, USA.


The purpose of this study is to provisionally classify, based on the Biopharmaceutics Classification System (BCS), drugs in immediate-release dosage forms that appear on the World Health Organization (WHO) Essential Drug List. The classification in this report is based on the aqueous solubility of the drugs reported in commonly available reference literature and a correlation of human intestinal membrane permeability for a set of 29 reference drugs with their calculated partition coefficients. The WHO Essential Drug List consists of a total of 325 medicines and 260 drugs, of which 123 are oral drugs in immediate-release (IR) products. Drugs with dose numbers less than or equal to unity [Do = (maximum dose strength/250 mL)/solubility < or = 1] are defined as high-solubility drugs. Drug solubility for the uncharged, lowest-solubility form reported in the Merck Index or USP was used. Of the 123 WHO oral drugs in immediate-release dosage forms, 67% (82) were determined to be high-solubility drugs. The classification of permeability is based on correlations of human intestinal permeability of 29 reference drugs with the estimated log P or CLogP lipophilicity values. Metoprolol was chosen as the reference compound for permeability and log P or CLogP. Log P and CLogP were linearly correlated (r2 = 0.78) for 104 drugs. A total of 53 (43.1%) and 62 (50.4%) drugs on the WHO list exhibited log P and CLogP estimates, respectively, that were greater than or equal to the corresponding metoprolol value and are classified as high-permeability drugs. The percentages of the drugs in immediate-release dosage forms that were classified as BCS Class 1, Class 2, Class 3, and Class 4 drugs using dose number and log Pwere as follows: 23.6% in Class 1, 17.1% in Class 2, 31.7% in Class 3, and 10.6% in Class 4. The remaining 17.1% of the drugs could not be classified because of the inability to calculate log P values because of missing fragments. The corresponding percentages in the various BCS classes with dose number and CLogP criteria were similar: 28.5% in Class 1, 19.5% in Class 2, 35.0% in Class 3, and 9.8% in Class 4. The remaining 7.3% of the drugs could not be classified since CLogP could not be calculated. These results suggest that a satisfactory bioequivalence (BE) test for more than 55% of the high-solubility Class 1 and Class 3 drug products on the WHO Essential Drug List may be based on an in vitro dissolution test. The use of more easily implemented, routinely monitored, and reliable in vitro dissolution tests can ensure the clinical performance of drug products that appear on the WHO Essential Medicines List.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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