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This vignettes aims at enabling you to use NMsim for the following purposes

  • Simulation with parameter uncertainty
    • By sampling for a successful covariance step
    • By using models from bootstrap sampling

Simulation of parameter uncertainty

We already saw how NMsim can easily be used to generate new subjects (for say prediction intervals) by using the between-subject and between-occasion variability as described by the model. We may also want to simulate the uncertainty of the parameter estimates (for say confidence intervals). NMsim supports two different approaches to this.

  • Simulation based on the estimated variance-covariance matrix of the parameters as estimated by a successful $COVARIANCE step in Nonmem.

  • Simulation based on a bootstrap of the model. NMsim does not provide functions to run the bootstrap, but it can use the results of sampled models, like what is generated by PSN’s bootstrap function.

It is beyond the scope of this vignette to describe the pros and cons of those two approaches. The following examples serve to exlain the preequisites for using NMsim to do it, and obviously how to get NMsim to do the job.

Simulation of parameter uncertainty based on a covariance step

If you have a succesful covariance step from Nonmem, NMsim can sample models from the estimated variance-covariance matrix. Again, NMsim does not derive confidence intervals based on the estimated variance-covariance matrix. It samples models from it, and then you can derive the desired confidence intervals, or whatever you need.

Again, we shall try not to get too far into details here, but remember what we are doing here. We are assuming that the estimated vairance-covariance matrix is a reliable estimate of the parameter precision, implying Gaussian distribution of all parameter uncertainties. The reason this is important to understand is that depending on the model, this can lead to samples of parameter values beyond some allowed range. This can lead some of the sampled models to fail or not be meaningful. The point here is that a successful covariance step may not be a sufficient criterion for picking this approach to simulating uncertainty; appropriate parametrization is another one.

Anyway, getting NMsim to do the work is as simple as this:

simlsts.VarCov <- NMsim(
    file.mod=file.mod,              ## Path to estimation input control stream
    data=dat.sim                    ## simulation input data
   ,dir.sims="~/NMsim_vignette/tmp" ## where to store temporary simulation files
   ,dir.res="simulate-results"      ## where to store simulation results files
   ,table.vars="PRED IPRED"         ## Let Nonmem write a minimum output table
   ,method.sim=NMsim_VarCov         ## Var-Cov parameter sampling
   ,name.sim="VarCov"               ## a recognizable directory name
   ,nsims=500                       ## sampling 500 models
   ,sge=TRUE                        ## run simulations in parallel please

You may get messages like “Unable to run job” and that the job “is not allowed to run in any queue”. Contra-intuitively to most, these messages do not mean that the job isn’t run.

We used sge=TRUE which means we are sending the 1000 generated jobs to the queuing system. In this case, NMsim does not track the execution of the jobs and does hence not collect the results once they are done. Instead it returns a small data.frame with the paths to where all the simulation output control streams will be written. You have to check the status of the jobs manually, and once they are all done, you can read all the results using NMdata::NMscanMultiple:

simres.VarCov <- NMreadSim("simulate-results/NMsim_xgxr032_VarCov_paths.rds")

We now have simulation results from 1000 sampled models collected. We shall do the same with the models sampled in a bootstrap, and then we will calculate confidence intervals based on both methods.

Simulation from a bootstrap

The other approach to simulation with parameter uncertainty currently provided by NMsim is simulation from a bootstrap. Again, NMsim does not run a bootstrap, it simply runs a simulation using each of the sampled models from a bootstrap. In fact this means we don’t even need a dedicated method to achieve this, we simply run a simulation with multiple Nonmem models as described in the begging of this vignette. We used PSN’s bootstrap. We can run the simulation on all the models this way:

## generate a vector with paths to all the input control streams
mods.bootstrap <- list.files(path=file.project("nonmem/bs1_032_N1000/m1"),
                             pattern=".+\\.mod$",full.names = T)

## number of models to be run
## length(mods.bootstrap)

file.res.bootstrap <- NMsim(
    file.mod=mods.bootstrap   ## Estimation input control stream
   ,data=dat.sim              ## Simulation input data
   ,method.sim=NMsim_default  ## a single simulation with each sampled model
   ,dir.sims="~/NMsim_vignette/bootstrap" ## Where to save simulation results
   ,table.vars="PRED IPRED"   ## Let Nonmem write a minimum output table
   ,sge=TRUE                  ## run simulations in parallel
simres.bootstrap <- NMreadSim("simulate-results/simres_bootstrap.rds")

NMsim keeps a column by default called model which holds the model name, derived from the control stream file name. This behavior is due to NMsim relying on the functionality implemented in NMdata for reading and writing data. Using NMdata::NMscanData. As an example, we can derive an estimated confidence interval of the population prediction against time by summarizing across the simulation models (samples).

The confidence intervals

Derivation of the confidence intervals is identical for the two methods, so we do it at once using data.table’s by feature to separate the two methods (sampling from covariance steps and using the bootstrap samples).

## Stacking results from the two approaches to simulating with
## parameter uncertainty.
allres <- rbind(simres.VarCov[,method:="Covariance step"],

## long format so calculations can be done by prediction type.
allresl <- melt(allres[EVID==2],

## deriving median by model and time to have a single value per model
## and time point. This is only needed in case multiple subjects are
## simulated by each model.
sum.res.model <- allresl[,

sum.uncertain <- sum.res.model[

Plotting the two next to each other. For this simple model with a smooth covariance step the two confidence intervals are very similar. If you look hard, you can see minor differences.

    labs(x="Hours since first dose",y="Concentration (ng/mL)")+