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Clin Pharmacokinet. 2019 Mar;58(3):283-297. doi: 10.1007/s40262-018-0695-9.

The Clinical Pharmacology of Cladribine Tablets for the Treatment of Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis.

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Clinical Research Appliance (Cr Appliance), Heinrich-Vingerhut-Weg 3, 63571, Gelnhausen, Germany.
Department of Pharmaceutical Biosciences, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.
Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.
Merck Institute for Pharmacometrics, Merck Serono S.A., Switzerland, an Affiliate of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.


Cladribine Tablets (MAVENCLAD®) are used to treat relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS). The recommended dose is 3.5 mg/kg, consisting of 2 annual courses, each comprising 2 treatment weeks 1 month apart. We reviewed the clinical pharmacology of Cladribine Tablets in patients with MS, including pharmacokinetic and pharmacometric data. Cladribine Tablets are rapidly absorbed, with a median time to reach maximum concentration (Tmax) of 0.5 h (range 0.5-1.5 h) in fasted patients. When administered with food, absorption is delayed (median Tmax 1.5 h, range 1-3 h), and maximum concentration (Cmax) is reduced by 29% (based on geometric mean). Area under the concentration-time curve (AUC) is essentially unchanged. Oral bioavailability of cladribine is approximately 40%, pharmacokinetics are linear and time-independent, and volume of distribution is 480-490 L. Plasma protein binding is 20%, independent of cladribine plasma concentration. Cladribine is rapidly distributed to lymphocytes and retained (either as parent drug or its phosphorylated metabolites), resulting in approximately 30- to 40-fold intracellular accumulation versus extracellular concentrations as early as 1 h after cladribine exposure. Cytochrome P450-mediated biotransformation of cladribine is of minor importance. Cladribine elimination is equally dependent on renal and non-renal routes. In vitro studies indicate that cladribine efflux is minimally P-glycoprotein (P-gp)-related, and clinically relevant interactions with P-gp inhibitors are not expected. Cladribine distribution across membranes is primarily facilitated by equilibrative nucleoside transporter (ENT) 1, concentrative nucleoside transporter (CNT) 3 and breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP), and there is no evidence of any cladribine-related effect on heart rate, atrioventricular conduction or cardiac repolarisation (QTc interval prolongation). Cladribine Tablets are associated with targeted lymphocyte reduction and durable efficacy, with the exposure-effect relationship showing the recommended dose is appropriate in reducing relapse risk.

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