Nonlinearities are frequently encountered in pharmacokinetics, and they can occur when 1 or more processes of absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion are saturable. One special source of nonlinearity that has been noticed recently is the saturable binding of the drug to a high-affinity-low-capacity target, a phenomenon known as target-mediated drug disposition (TMDD). Although TMDD can occur in both small-molecule compounds and large-molecule compounds, the latter has received much more attention because of its high prevalence. With the development of more potent small-molecule drugs acting on highly specific targets and the availability of increasingly sensitive analytical techniques, small-molecule compounds exhibiting TMDD have been increasingly reported in the past several years. ABT-384 is a small-molecule drug candidate that exhibited significant nonlinear pharmacokinetics, potentially imparted by TMDD, in a first-in-human clinical trial conducted in healthy volunteers. Compared with published small-molecule compounds exhibiting TMDD, ABT-384 pharmacokinetic characteristics are more consistent with TMDD. To expand current knowledge of TMDD of small-molecule compounds and increase awareness of this interesting and clinically important phenomenon, in this review the general features of small-molecule compounds exhibiting TMDD are highlighted, with ABT-384 provided as an example.
© 2015, The American College of Clinical Pharmacology.