Benefits of Pharmacometric Model-Based Design and Analysis of Clinical Trials
Abstract: Quantitative pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic and disease progression models are the core of the science of pharmacometrics which has been identified as one of the strategies that can make drug development more effective. To adequately develop and utilize these models one needs to carefully consider the nature of the data, choice of appropriate estimation methods, model evaluation strategies, and, most importantly, the intended use of the model.The general aim of this thesis was to investigate how the use of pharmacometric models can improve the design and analysis of clinical trials within drug development. The development of pharmacometric models for clinical assessment scales in stroke and graded severity events, in this thesis, show the benefit of describing data as close to its true nature as possible, as it increases the predictive abilities and allows for mechanistic interpretations of the models. Performance of three estimation methods implemented in the mixed-effects modeling software NONMEM; 1) Laplace, 2) SAEM, and 3) Importance sampling, applied when modeling repeated time-to-event data, was investigated. The two latter methods are to be preferred if less than approximately half of the individuals experience events. In addition, predictive performance of two validation procedures, internal and external validation, was explored, with internal validation being preferred in most cases. Model-based analysis was compared to conventional methods by the use of clinical trial simulations and the power to detect a drug effect was improved with a pharmacometric design and analysis.Throughout this thesis several examples have shown the possibility of significantly reducing sample sizes in clinical trials with a pharmacometric model-based analysis. This approach will reduce time and costs spent in the development of new drug therapies, but foremost reduce the number of healthy volunteers and patients exposed to experimental drugs.
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