A comparison of the Two One-Sided Tests Procedure and the Power Approach for assessing the equivalence of average bioavailability

Abstract

The statistical test of the hypothesis of no difference between the average bioavailabilities of two drug formulations, usually supplemented by an assessment of what the power of the statistical test would have been if the true averages had been inequivalent, continues to be used in the statistical analysis of bioavailability/bioequivalence studies. In the present article, this Power Approach (which in practice usually consists of testing the hypothesis of no difference at level 0.05 and requiring an estimated power of 0.80) is compared to another statistical approach, the Two One-Sided Tests Procedure, which leads to the same conclusion as the approach proposed by Westlake (2) based on the usual (shortest) 1–2α confidence interval for the true average difference. It is found that for the specific choice of α=0.05 as the nominal level of the one-sided tests, the two one-sided tests procedure has uniformly superior properties to the power approach in most cases. The only cases where the power approach has superior properties when the true averages are equivalent correspond to cases where the chance of concluding equivalence with the power approach when the true averages are notequivalent exceeds 0.05. With appropriate choice of the nominal level of significance of the one-sided tests, the two one-sided tests procedure always has uniformly superior properties to the power approach. The two one-sided tests procedure is compared to the procedure proposed by Hauck and Anderson (1).

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Schuirmann, D.J. A comparison of the Two One-Sided Tests Procedure and the Power Approach for assessing the equivalence of average bioavailability. Journal of Pharmacokinetics and Biopharmaceutics 15, 657–680 (1987). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01068419

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Key words

  • bioavailability
  • bioequivalence
  • hypothesis testing
  • interval hypotheses