The purpose of this study was to evaluate minoxidil as a high permeability reference drug for Biopharmaceutics Classification System (BCS). The permeability of minoxidil was determined in in situ intestinal perfusion studies in rodents and permeability studies across Caco-2 cell monolayers. The permeability of minoxidil was compared with that of metoprolol, an FDA reference drug for BCS classification. In rat perfusion studies, the permeability of minoxidil was somewhat higher than that of metoprolol in the jejunum, while minoxidil showed lower permeability than metoprolol in the ileum. The permeability of minoxidil was independent of intestinal segment, while the permeability of metoprolol was region-dependent. Similarly, in mouse perfusion study, the jejunal permeability of minoxidil was 2.5-fold higher than that of metoprolol. Minoxidil and metoprolol showed similar permeability in Caco-2 study at apical pH of 6.5 and basolateral pH of 7.4. The permeability of minoxidil was independent of pH, while metoprolol showed pH-dependent transport in Caco-2 study. Minoxidil exhibited similar permeability in the absorptive direction (AP-BL) in comparison with secretory direction (BL-AP), while metoprolol had higher efflux ratio (ER > 2) at apical pH of 6.5 and basolateral pH of 7.4. No concentration-dependent transport was observed for either minoxidil or metoprolol transport in Caco-2 study. Verapamil did not alter the transport of either compounds across Caco-2 cell monolayers. The permeability of minoxidil was independent of both pH and intestinal segment in intestinal perfusion studies and Caco-2 studies. Caco-2 studies also showed no involvement of carrier mediated transport in the absorption process of minoxidil. These results suggest that minoxidil may be an acceptable reference drug for BCS high permeability classification. However, minoxidil exhibited higher jejunal permeability than metoprolol and thus to use minoxidil as a reference drug would raise the permeability criteria for BCS high permeability classification.
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