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Oral drug absorption in pediatrics: the intestinal wall, its developmental changes and current tools for predictions

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The dissolution, intestinal absorption and presystemic metabolism of a drug depend on its physicochemical characteristics but also on numerous physiological (e.g. gastrointestinal pH, volume, transit time, morphology) and biochemical factors (e.g. luminal enzymes and flora, intestinal wall enzymes and transporters). Over the past decade, evidence has accumulated indicating that these factors may differ in children and adults resulting in age‐related changes in drug exposure and drug response. Thus, drug dosage may require adjustment for the pediatric population to ensure the desired therapeutic outcome and to avoid side‐effects. Although tremendous progress has been made in understanding the effects of age on intestinal physiology and function, significant knowledge gaps remain. Studying and predicting pharmacokinetics in pediatric patients remains challenging due to ethical concerns associated with clinical trials in this vulnerable population, and because of the paucity of predictive in vitro and in vivo animal assays. This review details the current knowledge related to developmental changes determining intestinal drug absorption and pre‐systemic metabolism. Supporting experimental approaches as well as physiologically based pharmacokinetic modeling are also discussed together with their limitations and challenges. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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Keywords: intestinal absorption; ontogeny; pediatrics; physiologically based pharmacokinetic modeling

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2017

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