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Free Content The development of a standardised screening protocol for the in vivo assessment of rifampicin bioavailability

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SETTING: The prerequisite for in vivo bioavailability testing of rifampicin in fixed-dose combination (FDC) formulations is widely accepted. However, many smaller drug regulatory authorities and drug manufacturers have difficulty implementing costly and cumbersome testing procedures.

OBJECTIVE: To test whether a simplified blood sampling schedule can be used for the determination of drug bioequivalence in randomised, single dose, crossover studies of FDCs and appropriate reference formulations.

METHOD: The results of three bioavailability and bioequivalence studies of different rifampicin-containing FDCs were analysed. The relationship between the number of time points employed and precision of estimated relative bioavailability was explored. The relative bioavailabilities of the drug components in the test FDCs were calculated using maximal concentration and area under the curve estimates based on an extended blood sampling schedule of up to 15 time points over 48 hours, and a contracted sampling scheme with only six blood samples over 8 hours.

RESULTS: Estimates of relative bioavailability calculated using the contracted blood sampling protocol were closely similar to those derived using the extended sampling schedules.

CONCLUSION: Considerable cost and convenience benefits can be gained by using the contracted sampling schedule with only a minor reduction in the precision of the estimation of relative rifampicin bioavailability.
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Keywords: bioavailability; fixed-dose combination; tuberculosis

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Department of Pharmacology, University of Cape Town Medical School, Observatory, Pretoria, South Africa 2: Tuberculosis Research Programme, Medical Research Council, Pretoria, South Africa 3: Department of Medical Microbiology, St George's Hospital Medical School, London, UK

Publication date: 01 November 1999

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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