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Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 1984;27(5):595-602.

Implications of intraindividual variability in bioavailability studies of furosemide.


Intrasubject variation in bioavailability (rate and extent) and disposition of furosemide 40 mg was investigated using a repeated, randomized, double-blind cross-over study in 8 healthy subjects. Two generic tablet formulations (Lasix and Furix) and intravenous furosemide were compared on 6 separate days. Extensive intrasubject variability after oral administration was observed in AUC, mean absorption time (MAT) and urinary excretion. The variability (error variance) within the dosage forms was as large as that between the two generics. These variations most probably depended on the absorption process, since the repeated i.v. doses showed only marginal intrasubject variability. Absolute bioavailability was 56% for Lasix and 55% for Furix (AUC). The range was 20 to 84% between individuals and the maximal range within one individual was 20 to 61%. Confidence interval and Bayesian analysis showed a high probability of non-equivalence not only between but also within the generics when the separate cross-over experiments were analyzed (8 observations). When extending the analysis to 16 observations, bioequivalence was demonstrated for the two generic tablets. Rate of absorption, quantified as MAT, was 128 min for Lasix and 98 min for Furix (16 observations). Since MAT was significantly longer (p less than 0.001) than the mean residence time after the i.v. dose (57 min), absorption was evidently the rate-limiting step in the overall kinetics of oral furosemide. Intraindividual variation in absorption is a confounding factor in bioavailability studies of furosemide using limited numbers of subjects. This is important to consider when designing and evaluating bioavailability studies for drugs showing these variations.

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