Exploring the Relationship of Drug BCS Classification, Food Effect, and Gastric pH-Dependent Drug Interactions


Food effect (FE) and gastric pH-dependent drug-drug interactions (DDIs) are both absorption-related. Here, we evaluated if Biopharmaceutics Classification System (BCS) classes may be correlated with FE or pH-dependent DDIs. Trends in FE data were investigated for 170 drugs with clinical FE studies from the literature and new drugs approved from 2013 to 2019 by US Food and Drug Administration. A subset of 38 drugs was also evaluated to determine whether FE results can inform the need for a gastric pH-dependent DDI study. The results of FE studies were defined as no effect (AUC ratio 0.80-1.25), increased exposure (AUC ratio ≥1.25), or decreased exposure (AUC ratio ≤0.8). Drugs with significantly increased exposure FE (AUC ratio ≥2.0; N=14) were BCS Class 2 or 4, while drugs with significantly decreased exposure FE (AUC ratio ≤0.5; N=2) were BCS Class 1/3 or 3. The lack of FE was aligned with the lack of a pH-dependent DDI for all 7 BCS Class 1 or 3 drugs as expected. For the 13 BCS Class 2 or 4 weak base drugs with an increased exposure FE, 6 had a pH-dependent DDI (AUC ratio ≤0.8). Among the 16 BCS Class 2 or 4 weak base drugs with no FE, 6 had a pH-dependent DDI (AUC ratio ≤0.8). FE appears to have limited correlation with BCS classes except for BCS Class 1 drugs, confirming that multiple physiological mechanisms can impact FE. Lack of FE does not indicate absence of pH-dependent DDI for BCS Class 2 or 4 drugs.