The Biopharmaceutic Drug Classification and Drugs Administered in Extended Release (Er) Formulations

  • Owen I. Corrigan
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 423)


A biopharmaceutic drug classification scheme for correlating the in-vitro drug product dissolution and in-vivo bioavailability for IR products was proposed by Amidon et al (1995). The classification arose from drug dissolution and absorption models which identified the key parameters controlling drug absorption as the dimensionless numbers; the Absorption number (An ), the Dissolution number (Dn) and the Dose number (Do). This led to a biopharmaceutic classification of drugs into four groups, the establishment of a basis for determining the conditions under which in-vitro-in-vivo (IVIV) correlation’s are expected and the use of the classification to set drug bioavailability standards for IR products. These developments raise the issue of whether the biopharmaceutic classification has relevance to ER products. In contrast to IR products, drugs selected for ER products should have good gastrointestinal (GI) permeability and an extended site of absorption. However their permeability(Papp) may change depending on the site. Solubility(Cs), effective fluid volume and hence Do may also vary with site. Of particular relevance to both permeability and solubility is the degree of ionization of the drug. Residence time at each site, pH changes and the potential for drug degradation at different sites, the latter resulting in a restricted absorption window, will influence the time frame over which an IVIV relationship is possible. Of the drugs available in ER dosage forms ∼ 63% are bases, 15% acids and the remainder either unionizable or small inorganic ions. Acidic drugs will tend to have lower solubility’s high up in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT), with solubility increasing down the GIT. In contrast with increased ionization permeability should fall. Thus with acids, as the dosage form moves to a more alkaline environment down the GIT, absorption may change from dissolution control to membrane control depending on the pKa of the drug. In contrast bases will loose solubility with transit down the GIT, but become more permeable; absorption becoming more dissolution/release controlled or in ex- treme cases solubility controlled in the latter stages of the absorption phase. In the light of the above considerations a modified biopharmaceutic classification is proposed for ER products.


Extend Release Immediate Release Small Intestine Transit Pyridostigmine Bromide Absorption Window 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Owen I. Corrigan
    • 1
  1. 1.IVIVR Cooperative Group Department of PharmaceuticsUniversity of Dublin Trinity CollegeDublin 2Ireland

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