Volume 46, Issue 2 p111-116 (2019)
Reproducibility is a highly desired feature of scientific investigation in general, and it has special connotations for research in pharmacokinetics, a vibrant field with over 500,000 publications to-date. It is important to be able to differentiate between genuine heterogeneity in pharmacokinetic parameters from heterogeneity that is due to errors and biases. This overview discusses efforts and opportunities to diminish the latter type of undesirable heterogeneity. Several reporting and research guidance documents and standards have been proposed for pharmacokinetic studies, but their adoption is still rather limited. Quality problems in the methods used and model evaluations have been examined in some empirical studies of the literature. Standardization of statistical and laboratory tools and procedures can be improved in the field. Only a small fraction of pharmacokinetic studies become pre-registered and only 9995 such studies have been registered in ClinicalTrials.gov as of August 2018. It is likely that most pharmacokinetic studies remain unpublished. Publication bias affecting the results and inferences has been documented in case studies, but its exact extent is unknown for the field at-large. The use of meta-analyses in the field is still limited. Availability of raw data, detailed protocols, software and codes is hopefully improving with multiple ongoing initiatives. Several research practices can contribute to greater transparency and reproducibility for pharmacokinetic investigations.
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