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AAPS J. 2015 May;17(3):758-68. doi: 10.1208/s12248-015-9735-7. Epub 2015 Feb 26.

Pharmacodynamic Studies to Demonstrate Bioequivalence of Oral Inhalation Products.

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Pharmacotherapy and Translational Research and Pediatrics (Pulmonary), University of Florida, PO Box 100486, Gainesville, Florida, 32610-0486, USA,


In the session on "Pharmacodynamic studies to demonstrate efficacy and safety", presentations were made on methods of evaluating airway deposition of inhaled corticosteroids and bronchodilators, and systemic exposure indirectly using pharmacodynamic study designs. For inhaled corticosteroids, limitations of measuring exhaled nitric oxide and airway responsiveness to adenosine for anti-inflammatory effects were identified, whilst measurement of 18-h area under the cortisol concentration-time curve was recommended for determining equivalent systemic exposure. For bronchodilators, methacholine challenge was recommended as the most sensitive method of determining the relative amount of β-agonist or anti-muscarinic agent delivered to the airways. Whilst some agencies, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), do not require measuring systemic effects when pharmacokinetic measurements are feasible, the European Medicines Agency requires measurement of heart rate and serum potassium, and some require serial electrocardiograms when bioequivalence is not established by pharmacokinetic (PK) studies. The Panel Discussion focused on whether PK would be the most sensitive marker of bioequivalence. Furthermore, there was much discussion about the FDA draft guidance for generic fluticasone propionate/salmeterol. The opinion was expressed that the study design is not capable of detecting a non-equivalent product and would require an unfeasibly large sample size.

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