Predicted metabolic drug clearance with increasing adult age

Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2013 Apr;75(4):1019-28. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2125.2012.04446.x.


Aim: To determine the effect of increasing adult age on predicted metabolic drug clearance.

Method: Predicted metabolic drug clearances (CLPT ) were determined using in vitro-in vivo extrapolation coupled with physiological-based pharmacokinetic modelling and simulation (IVIVE-PBPK) in Simcyp®. Simulations were conducted using CYP-selective 'probe' drugs with subjects in 5 year age groups (20-25 to 90-95 years). CLPT values were compared with human pharmacokinetic data stratified according to age (young = 20-40 years and elderly = 65-85 years) and gender. Age-related changes in the physiological parameters used for IVIVE of CLPT were described.

Results: Predicted metabolic drug clearances decreased with increasing adult age to approximately 65-70 years: caffeine from 1.5 to 1.0 ml min(-1) kg(-1) (a 33% decrease), S-warfarin from 0.100 to 0.064 ml min(-1) kg(-1) (36%), S-mephenytoin from 4.1 to 2.5 ml min(-1) kg(-1) (39%), desipramine from 10.6 to 7.3 ml min(-1) kg(-1) (31%) and midazolam from 5.4 to 3.9 ml min(-1) kg(-1) (27%). Except for S-mephenytoin, predictions were within 3.5-fold of clearances from clinical studies when stratified by age and gender. A trend towards higher CLPT was observed in females, but this was only statistically significant in larger virtual trials. Physiological parameters that determine CLPT decreased with increasing adult age: mean microsomal protein g(-1) of liver, liver weight, hepatic blood flow and human serum albumin concentration.

Conclusion: Decreased metabolic clearance in the elderly was predicted by Simcyp® and was generally consistent with limited clinical data for four out of five drugs studied and the broader literature for drugs metabolized by CYP enzymes. IVIVE-PBPK may be increasingly useful in predicting metabolic drug clearance in the elderly.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / metabolism*
  • Caffeine / pharmacokinetics*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Desipramine / pharmacokinetics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mephenytoin / pharmacokinetics*
  • Metabolic Clearance Rate
  • Midazolam / pharmacokinetics*
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Biological
  • Warfarin / pharmacokinetics*


  • Caffeine
  • Warfarin
  • Mephenytoin
  • Midazolam
  • Desipramine