Interpreting population pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic analyses – a clinical viewpoint


Professor Stephen Duffull, School of Pharmacy, University of Otago, PO Box 56, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand.
Tel.: + 64 3 479 5044
Fax: + 64 3 479 7034


The population analysis approach is an important tool for clinical pharmacology in aiding the dose individualization of medicines. However, due to their statistical complexity the clinical utility of population analyses is often overlooked. One of the key reasons to conduct a population analysis is to investigate the potential benefits of individualization of drug dosing based on patient characteristics (termed covariate identification). The purpose of this review is to provide a tool to interpret and extract information from publications that describe population analysis. The target audience is those readers who are aware of population analyses but have not conducted the technical aspects of an analysis themselves. Initially we introduce the general framework of population analysis and work through a simple example with visual plots. We then follow-up with specific details on how to interpret population analyses for the purpose of identifying covariates and how to interpret their likely importance for dose individualization.