PKQuest Java: Free, interactive physiologically based pharmacokinetic software package and tutorial

David Levitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background. Physiologically based pharmacokinetics (PBPK) uses a realistic organ model to describe drug kinetics. The blood-tissue exchange of each organ is characterized by its volume, perfusion, metabolism, capillary permeability and blood/tissue partition coefficient. PBPK applications require both sophisticated mathematical modeling software and a reliable complete set of physiological parameters. Currently there are no software packages available that combine ease of use with the versatility that is required of a general PBPK program. Findings. The program is written in Java and is available for free download at Included in the download is a detailed tutorial that discusses the pharmacokinetics of 6 solutes (D2O, amoxicillin, desflurane, propofol, ethanol and thiopental) illustrated using experimental human pharmacokinetic data. The complete PBPK description for each solute is stored in Excel spreadsheets that are included in the download. The main features of the program are: 1) Intuitive and versatile interactive interface; 2) Absolute and semi-logarithmic graphical output; 3) Pre-programmed optimized human parameter data set (but, arbitrary values can be input); 4) Time dependent changes in the PBPK parameters; 5) Non-linear parameter optimization; 6) Unique approach to determine the oral "first pass metabolism" of non-linear solutes (e.g. ethanol); 7) Pulmonary perfusion/ventilation heterogeneity for volatile solutes; 8) Input and output of Excel spreadsheet data; 9) Antecubital vein sampling. Conclusion. PKQuest Java is a free, easy to use, interactive PBPK software routine. The user can either directly use the pre-programmed optimized human or rat data set, or enter an arbitrary data set. It is designed so that drugs that are classified as "extracellular" or "highly fat soluble" do not require information about tissue/blood partition coefficients and can be modeled by a minimum of user input parameters. PKQuest Java, along with the included tutorial, could be used as the basis of an interactive, on-line, pharmacokinetic course.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number158
JournalBMC Research Notes
StatePublished - 2009


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