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Proposed New Addition to 3Rs for Ethical and Humane Use of Rats in Pharmacokinetic Studies - ‘Recycle’

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The great emphasis on ethical and humane treatment of animals in biomedical research has culminated in the promulgation of the rule of 3Rs - Replacement, Reduction, and Refinement. We have proposed an addition to the 3Rs - a fourth R for Recycling the animal. In drug discovery single-dose pharmacokinetic studies in rats, each animal is generally used only once and then euthanized. A reduction in the number of rats used in this high-throughput era can be readily implemented by reusing animals, just as larger animals are reused in multiple pharmacokinetic studies, consequently reducing the overall number of animal lives sacrificed in research. We provide evidence here for the reproducibility of pharmacokinetic studies of tolbutamide and fluconazole, used as test compounds, in rats receiving once-weekly oral and intravenous doses for 4 weeks, proving that recycling rats for multiple single low-dose pharmacokinetic studies is a viable option.

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Keywords: 3Rs; 4Rs; Pharmacokinetics; Recycle; Reduction; Refinement; Replacement

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2008

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  • Drug Metabolism Letters publishes short papers on major advances in all areas of drug metabolism and disposition. The emphasis will be on publishing quality papers very rapidly. Letters will be processed rapidly by taking full advantage of the Internet technology for both the submission and review of manuscripts. The journal covers the following areas:

    In vitro systems including CYP-450; enzyme induction and inhibition; drug-drug interactions and enzyme kinetics; pharmacokinetics, toxicokinetics, species scaling and extrapolations; P-glycoprotein and transport carriers; target organ toxicity and interindividual variability; drug metabolism and disposition studies; extrahepatic metabolism; phase I and phase II metabolism; recent developments for the identification of drug metabolites, reactive intermediate and glutathione conjugates.
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