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FDA's bioequivalence recommendation for Zolpidem Tartrate Extended Release Tablets is the first to use partial AUC (pAUC) metrics for determining bioequivalence of modified-release dosage forms. Modeling and simulation studies were performed to aid in understanding the need for pAUC measures and also the proper pAUC truncation times. Deconvolution techniques, In Vitro/In Vivo Correlations, and the CAT (Compartmental Absorption and Transit) model were used to predict the PK profiles for zolpidem. Models were validated using in-house data submitted to the FDA. Using dissolution profiles expressed by the Weibull model as input for the CAT model, dissolution spaces were derived for simulated test formulations. The AUC(0-1.5) parameter was indicative of IR characteristics of early exposure and effectively distinguished among formulations that produced different pharmacodynamic effects. The AUC(1.5-t) parameter ensured equivalence with respect to the sustained release phase of Ambien CR. The variability of AUC(0-1.5) is higher than other PK parameters, but is reasonable for use in an equivalence test. In addition to the traditional PK parameters of AUCinf and Cmax, AUC(0-1.5) and AUC(1.5-t) are recommended to provide bioequivalence measures with respect to label indications for Ambien CR: onset of sleep and sleep maintenance.


Robert A Lionberger, Andre S Raw, Stephanie H Kim, Xinyuan Zhang, Lawrence X Yu. Use of partial AUC to demonstrate bioequivalence of Zolpidem Tartrate Extended Release formulations. Pharmaceutical research. 2012 Apr;29(4):1110-20

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PMID: 22278753

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