A Comprehensive Whole-Body Physiologically Based Pharmacokinetic Model of Dabigatran Etexilate, Dabigatran and Dabigatran Glucuronide in Healthy Adults and Renally Impaired Patients

  • Daniel Moj
  • Hugo Maas
  • André Schaeftlein
  • Nina Hanke
  • José David Gómez-Mantilla
  • Thorsten LehrEmail author
Original Research Article


Background and Objectives

The thrombin inhibitor dabigatran is administered as the prodrug dabigatran etexilate, which is a substrate of esterases and P-glycoprotein (P-gp). Dabigatran is eliminated via renal excretion but is also a substrate of uridine 5ʹ-diphospho (UDP)-glucuronosyltransferases (UGTs). The objective of this study was to build a physiologically based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) model comprising dabigatran etexilate, dabigatran, and dabigatran 1-O-acylglucuronide to describe the pharmacokinetics in healthy adults and renally impaired patients mechanistically.


Model development and evaluation were carried out using (i) physicochemical and absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion (ADME) parameter values of all three analytes; (ii) concentration–time profiles from 13 studies of healthy and renally impaired individuals after varying doses (0.1–300 mg), intravenous (dabigatran) and oral (dabigatran etexilate) administration, and different formulations of dabigatran etexilate (capsule, solution); and (iii) drug–drug interaction studies of dabigatran with the P-gp perpetrators rifampin (inducer) and clarithromycin (inhibitor).


A PBPK model of dabigatran was successfully developed. The predicted area under the plasma concentration–time curve, trough concentration, and half-life values of the assessed clinical studies satisfied the two-fold acceptance criterion. Metabolic clearances of dabigatran etexilate and dabigatran were implemented using data on carboxylesterase 1/2 enzymes and UGT subtype 2B15. In severe renal impairment, the UGT2B15 metabolism and the P-gp transport in the model were reduced to 67% and 65% of the rates in healthy adults.


This is the first implementation of a PBPK model for dabigatran to distinguish between the prodrug, active moiety, and main active metabolite. Following adjustment of the UGT2B15 metabolism and P-gp transport rates, the PBPK model accurately predicts the pharmacokinetics in renally impaired patients.


Compliance with Ethical Standards


This study was partly funded by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma GmbH & Co. KG.

Conflict of interest

Daniel Moj worked as consultant for Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma GmbH & Co. KG. Hugo Maas and José David Gómez-Mantilla are employees of Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma GmbH & Co. KG. André Schaeftlein gave lectures for physicians hosted by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma GmbH & Co. KG and received a research grant from Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma GmbH & Co. KG. Nina Hanke reported no conflict of interest. Thorsten Lehr received research grants from Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma GmbH & Co. KG.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the studies.

Supplementary material

40262_2019_776_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (840 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 840 kb)


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Clinical PharmacySaarland UniversitySaarbrueckenGermany
  2. 2.Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma GmbH & Co. KGBiberachGermany

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