Assessment of the quality and quantity of drug-drug interaction studies in recent NDA submissions: study design and data analysis issues

J Clin Pharmacol. 1999 Oct;39(10):1006-14. doi: 10.1177/00912709922011764.


This report investigates the quality and quantity of drug-drug interaction studies in recent new drug applications (NDAs). Eighty-nine studies contained in 14 NDAs submitted between December 1995 and November 1996 to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) were reviewed. The results indicated that the median number of clinical drug-drug interaction studies per NDA was 6, almost double that of a 1994-1995 survey. In vitro metabolism data were present in 70% of the submissions. More than 50% of the submissions contained interaction studies using a battery of drugs (cimetidine, digoxin, or warfarin) without optimal use of the in vitro metabolism or in vivo mass balance data. Various study designs using a median number of 12 subjects were employed in the evaluation of drug-drug interactions. Some of the important study design factors such as dose size, dosing regimen, dosing duration, and timing of coadministration were considered, although not consistently, by the sponsors in their study design. Seventy-five percent of the studies used normal, healthy male subjects, and 25% used patients for whom the new molecular entities were intended. In 33% of the studies, female subjects were also recruited. Although the majority (80%) of the submissions still used p-values to determine the significance of drug interactions, 30% used a more relevant equivalence approach with 90% confidence intervals for key pharmacokinetic and/or pharmacodynamic parameter ratios to assess the extent of drug interactions. Overall, 82% of the studies concluded no interaction. Although population pharmacokinetic analysis can be a useful tool in studying drug-drug interactions, only 21% of the submissions used this approach. In summary, this assessment reveals that the quantity and quality of drug-drug interaction studies in NDAs have improved over the years. These improvements, as well as others that can be implemented, should result in more informative labeling and better patient care. FDA guidance for industry dealing with the design, analysis, and labeling language of in vivo metabolic drug-drug interactions has been developed to assist sponsors and FDA reviewers with these issues.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Trials as Topic / methods
  • Clinical Trials as Topic / standards*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Interactions*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Investigational New Drug Application / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Research Design
  • Sample Size
  • Statistics as Topic
  • United States
  • United States Food and Drug Administration


  • Pharmaceutical Preparations