In vitro - in vivo correlation: from theory to applications.
A key goal in pharmaceutical development of dosage forms is a good understanding of the in vitro and in vivo performance of the dosage forms. One of the challenges of biopharmaceutics research is correlating in vitro drug release information of various drug formulations to the in vivo drug profiles (IVIVC). Thus the need for a tool to reliably correlate in vitro and in vivo drug release data has exceedingly increased. Such a tool shortens the drug development period, economizes the resources and leads to improved product quality. Increased activity in developing IVIVCs indicates the value of IVIVCs to the pharmaceutical industry. IVIVC can be used in the development of new pharmaceuticals to reduce the number of human studies during the formulation development as the main objective of an IVIVC is to serve as a surrogate for in vivo bioavailability and to support biowaivers. It supports and/or validates the use of dissolution methods and specification settings. This is because the IVIVC includes in vivo relevance to in vitro dissolution specifications. It can also assist in quality control for certain scale-up and post-approval changes (SUPAC). With the proliferation of modified-release products, it becomes necessary to examine the concept of IVIVC in greater depth. Investigations of IVIVC are increasingly becoming an integral part of extended release drug development. There must be some in vitro means of assuring that each batch of the same product will perform identically in vivo. This review article represents the FDA guidance, development, evaluation, and validation of an IVIVC to grant biowaivers, and to set dissolution specifications for oral dosage forms, biopharmaceutics classification systems (BCS), BCS biowaivers, application of BCS in IVIVC development and concept of mapping. The importance of dissolution media and methodology and pharmacokinetic studies in the context of IVIVC has been highlighted. The review also covers the literature examples of IVIVCs regarding internal and external validation, compendial dissolution assessment, formulation dependency of IVIVCs, and IVIVCs of pure enantiomers versus racemate drugs. The same principles of IVIVC used for oral extended release products may be applied for non-oral products such as parenteral depot formulations and novel drug delivery systems as well.