Important Early Considerations For Assessing Drug Abuse Liability

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Assessment of abuse potential of compounds in development is one of the most complex regulatory requirements and constitutes a critical exercise for sponsors and regulators. The strategy for the assessment of abuse potential cannot be customized and requires individual evaluation of the compound, its target indication and the entirety of the nonclinical and clinical safety database. In July 2016, the United States Congress passed the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) bill to address prescription opioid abuse and overdoses that have killed more than 165,000 people between 1999 and 20141.

Given this increased spotlight and focus on preventing opioid abuse and deaths in the US and abroad, it has become more critical than ever to better understand the abuse liability potential of a drug as early as possible in the development process. As part of the overall assessment of drug safety for a New Drug Application (NDA) in the United States or a Market Authorization Application (MAA) outside the United States, drug abuse potential testing is required – regardless of indication – on any drug that is active in the brain. This encompasses all properties of the drug (e.g., chemical, pharmacological, pharmacokinetic, clinical safety, etc.).

In the first of a two-part blog, we share important early considerations for abuse liability testing to help drug developers test the abuse potential of their molecule and better understand their path to viability in this changing landscape.

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