Physiologically-based pharmacokinetic models for children: Starting to reach maturation?

Publication: Pharmacol Ther
Software: GastroPlus®


Developmental changes in children can affect the disposition and clinical effects of a drug, indicating that scaling an adult dose simply down per linear weight can potentially lead to overdosing, especially in very young children. Physiologically-based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) models are compartmental, mathematical models that can be used to predict plasma drug concentrations in pediatric populations and acquire insight into the influence of age-dependent physiological differences on drug disposition. Pediatric PBPK models have generated attention in the last decade, because physiological parameters for model building are increasingly available and regulatory guidelines demand pediatric studies during drug development. Due to efforts from academia, PBPK model developers, pharmaceutical companies and regulatory authorities, examples are now available where clinical studies in children have been replaced or informed by PBPK models. However, the number of pediatric PBPK models and their predictive performance still lags behind that of adult models. In this review we discuss the general pediatric PBPK model principles, indicate the challenges that can arise when developing models, and highlight new applications, to give an overview of the current status and future perspective of pediatric PBPK modeling.