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Area under the plasma concentration time curve (AUC)

The area under the plasma (serum, or blood) concentration versus time curve (AUC) has an number of important uses in toxicology, biopharmaceutics and pharmacokinetics.

Toxicology AUC can be used as a measure of drug exposure. It is derived from drug concentration and time so it gives a measure how much - how long a drug stays in a body. A long, low concentration exposure may be as important as shorter but higher concentration. Some drugs are dosed using AUC to quantitate the maximum tolerated exposure (AUC Dosing).

Biopharmaceutics The AUC measured after administration of a drug product is an important parameter in the comparison of drug products. Studies can be performed whereby different drug products may be given to a panel of subject on separate equations. These bioequivalency or bioavailability studies can be analysed by comparing AUC values.

Pharmacokinetics Drug AUC values can be used to determine other pharmacokinetic parameters, such as clearance or bioavailability, F. Similar techniques can be used to calculate area under the first moment curve (AUMC) and thus mean resident times (MRT).

The area under the plasma concentration versus time curve (AUC) has units of concentration times time. For example, or AUC is used extensively in the calculation drug product performance, that is dosage form bioavailability. This is covered more extensively in Chapter 18. AUC has also been used to quantitate drug exposure (concentration times time) to limit drug exposure or toxicology assessment. AUC and other area calculations are also used in non-compartmental pharmacokinetic parameter estimation as described in Chapter 30 and Clearance described on the next page.

The calculation of AUC using the trapezoidal rule was previously described in Chapter 2.


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