Development of a physiologically based model for oseltamivir and simulation of pharmacokinetics in neonates and infants

Clin Pharmacokinet. 2011 Sep;50(9):613-23. doi: 10.2165/11592640-000000000-00000.


Background: Physiologically based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) modelling can assist in the development of drug therapies and regimens suitable for challenging patient populations such as very young children. This study describes a strategy employing PBPK models to investigate the intravenous use of the neuraminidase inhibitor oseltamivir in infants and neonates with influenza.

Methods: Models of marmoset monkeys and humans were constructed for oseltamivir and its active metabolite oseltamivir carboxylate (OC). These models incorporated physicochemical properties and in vitro metabolism data into mechanistic representations of pharmacokinetic processes. Modelled processes included absorption, whole-body distribution, renal clearance, metabolic conversion of the pro-drug, permeability-limited hepatic disposition of OC and age dependencies for all of these processes. Models were refined after comparison of simulations in monkeys with plasma and liver concentrations measured in adult and newborn marmosets after intravenous and oral dosing. Then simulations with a human model were compared with clinical data taken from intravenous and oral studies in healthy adults and oral studies in infants and neonates. Finally, exposures after intravenous dosing in neonates were predicted.

Results: Good simulations in adult marmosets could be obtained after model optimizations for pro-drug conversion, hepatic disposition of OC and renal clearance. After adjustment for age dependencies, including reductions in liver enzyme expression and renal function, the model simulations matched the trend for increased exposures in newborn marmosets compared with those in adults. For adult humans, simulated and observed data after both intravenous and oral dosing showed good agreement and although the data are currently limited, simulations in 1-year-olds and neonates are in reasonable agreement with published results for oral doses. Simulated intravenous infusion plasma profiles in neonates deliver therapeutic concentrations of OC that closely mimic the oral profiles, with 3-fold higher exposures of oseltamivir than those observed with the same oral dose.

Conclusions: This work exemplifies the utility of PBPK models in predicting pharmacokinetics in the very young. Simulations showed agreement with a wide range of observational data, indicating that the processes determining the age-dependent pharmacokinetics of oseltamivir are well described.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiviral Agents / blood
  • Antiviral Agents / metabolism
  • Antiviral Agents / pharmacokinetics*
  • Antiviral Agents / pharmacology
  • Computer Simulation*
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / blood
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / metabolism
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacokinetics*
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Haplorhini
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Neuraminidase / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Oseltamivir / analogs & derivatives*
  • Oseltamivir / blood
  • Oseltamivir / metabolism
  • Oseltamivir / pharmacokinetics*
  • Oseltamivir / pharmacology
  • Prodrugs*


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Prodrugs
  • Oseltamivir
  • Neuraminidase
  • oseltamivir carboxylate