Predicting Human Dermal Drug Concentrations Using PBPK Modeling and Simulation: Clobetasol Propionate Case Study

Publication: Novel Approaches for Cutaneous Pharmacokinetics
Software: GastroPlus®


Quantitative in silico tools may be leveraged to mechanistically predict the dermato-pharmacokinetics of compounds delivered from topical and transdermal formulations by integrating systems of rate equations that describe permeation through the formulation and layers of skin and pilo-sebaceous unit, and exchange with systemic circulation via local blood flow. Delivery of clobetasol-17 propionate (CP) from DermovateTM cream was simulated using the Transdermal Compartmental Absorption & Transit (TCATTM) Model in GastroPlus®. The cream was treated as an oil-in-water emulsion, with model input parameters estimated from publicly available information and quantitative structure-permeation relationships. From the ranges of values available for model input parameters, a set of parameters was selected by comparing model outputs to CP dermis concentration-time profiles measured by dermal open-flow microperfusion (Bodenlenz et al. Pharm Res. 33(9):2229–38, 2016). Predictions of unbound dermis CP concentrations were reasonably accurate with respect to time and skin depth. Parameter sensitivity analyses revealed considerable dependence of dermis CP concentration profiles on drug solubility in the emulsion, relatively less dependence on dispersed phase volume fraction and CP effective diffusivity in the continuous phase of the emulsion, and negligible dependence on dispersed phase droplet size. Effects of evaporative water loss from the cream and corticosteroid-induced vasoconstriction were also assessed. This work illustrates the applicability of computational modeling to predict sensitivity of dermato-pharmacokinetics to changes in thermodynamic and transport properties of a compound in a topical formulation, particularly in relation to rate-limiting steps in skin permeation. Where these properties can be related to formulation composition and processing, such a computational approach may support the design of topically applied formulations.

By William W. van Osdol, Jasmina Novakovic, Maxime Le Merdy, Eleftheria Tsakalozou, Priyanka Ghosh, Jessica Spires & Viera Lukacova