Table 1

Advantages and disadvantages of traditional and population pharmacokinetics

Traditional PK
Small numbers of participants required (usually < 20)Often done in “healthy” participants rather than the target patient population
Minimizes interindividual variability via fixed, restrictive sampling designsMultiple blood samples required from each participant
Simple PK modelling and calculationsCannot handle sparse sampling or identify covariates affecting variability in drug concentrations
Population PK
Often done in patients for whom the drug was intendedLarge clinical samples required
Accommodates flexible study designs, handles sparse sampling, and requires few blood samples from each patientEntails handling large amounts of data
Quantifies covariates accounting for interindividual PK variability (e.g., age, weight, smoking, concomitant medications)Complex statistical analyses (e.g., model building, diagnostics, missing data treatment)
  • PK = pharmacokinetic.