Quantitative Structure – Pharmacokinetic Relationships for Plasma Clearance of Basic Drugs with Consideration of the Major Elimination Pathway

Zvetanka Dobreva Zhivkova

Faculty of Pharmacy, Medical University of Sofia, Sofia 1000, Bulgaria.


Purpose. The success of a new drug candidate is determined not only by its efficacy and safety, but also by proper pharmacokinetic behavior. The early prediction of pharmacokinetic parameters could save time and resources and accelerate drug development process. Plasma clearance (CL) is one of the key determinants of drug dosing regimen. The aim of the study is development of quantitative structure – pharmacokinetics relationships (QSPkRs) for the CL. Methods. A dataset consisted of 263 basic drugs, which chemical structures were described by 154 descriptors.  Genetic algorithm, stepwise regression and multiple linear regression were used for variable selection and model development. Predictive ability of the models was assessed by internal and external validation.  Results. A number of significant QSPkR models for the CL were derived with respect to the primary elimination pathway (renal excretion, metabolism, or CYP3A4 mediated biotransformation), as well for the unbound clearance (CLu). The models were able to predict 52 – 80% of the drugs from external validation sets within the 2-fold error of the experimental values with geometric mean fold error 1.57 – 2.00. Conclusions. Plasma protein binding was the major restrictive factor for the CL of drugs, primarily cleared by metabolism.  The clearance was favored by lipophilicity and several structural features like OH-groups, aromatic rings, large hydrophobic centers, aliphatic groups, connected with electro-negative atoms, and non-substituted aromatic C-atoms. The presence of Cl-atoms and abundance of 6-member aromatic rings or fused rings had negative effect.  The presence of ether O-atoms contributed negatively to the CL of both metabolism and renally excreted drugs, and urine excretion was favored by the presence of 3-valence N-atoms. These findings give insight on the main structural features governing plasma CL of basic drugs and could serve as a guide for lead optimization in the drug development process.


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J Pharm Pharm Sci, 20 (0): 135-147, 2017

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18433/J3MG71