Practical recommendations for population PK studies with sampling time errors

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Purpose: Population pharmacokinetic (PK) data collected from routine clinical practice offers a rich source of valuable information. However, in observational population PK data, accurate time information for blood samples is often missing, resulting in measurement errors (ME) in the sampling time variable. The goal of this study was to investigate the effects on model parameters when a scheduled time is used instead of the actual blood sampling time, and to proposeME correction methods. Methods: Simulation studies were conducted based on two major factors: the curvature in PK profiles and the size of ME. As ME correction methods, transform both sides (TBS) models were developed with application of Box-Cox power transformation and Taylor expansion. The TBS models were compared to a conventional population PK model using simulations. Results: The most important determinant of bias due to time ME was the degree of curvature (nonlinearity) in PK profiles; the smaller the curvature around sampling times, the smaller the associated bias. The second important determinant was the magnitude of ME; the larger the ME, the larger the bias. The proposed TBS models performed better than a conventional population PK modeling when curvature and ME were substantial. Conclusions: Time ME in sampling time can lead to bias on the parameter estimators. The following practical recommendations are provided: 1) when the curvature of PK profiles is small, conventional population PK modeling is robust to even large ME; and 2) when the curvature is moderate or large, the proposed methodology reduces bias in parameter estimates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2055-2064
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean journal of clinical pharmacology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2013


  • Berkson error
  • Blood sampling design
  • Blood sampling time
  • Measurement error
  • Nonlinearmixed effectmodel
  • Pharmacokinetic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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