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J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 1999 Oct;291(1):131-9.

Small intestinal metabolism of the 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase inhibitor lovastatin and comparison with pravastatin.

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Department of Biopharmaceutical Sciences, School of Pharmacy, University of California, San Francisco, California, USA.


We compared the intestinal metabolism of the structurally related 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase inhibitors lovastatin and pravastatin in vitro. Human small intestinal microsomes metabolized lovastatin to its major metabolites 6'beta-hydroxy (apparent K(m) = 11.2 +/- 3.3 microM) and 6'-exomethylene (apparent K(m) = 22.7 +/- 9.0 microM) lovastatin. The apparent K(m) values were similar for lovastatin metabolism by human liver microsomes. 6'beta-Hydroxylovastatin formation by pig small intestinal microsomes was inhibited with the following inhibition K(i) values: cyclosporine, 3.3 +/- 1.2 microM; ketoconazole, 0.4 +/- 0.1 microM; and troleandomycin, 0.8 +/- 0.9 microM. K(i) values for 6'-exomethylene lovastatin were similar. Incubation of pravastatin with human small intestinal microsomes resulted in the generation of 3'alpha,5'beta, 6'beta-trihydroxypravastatin (apparent K(m) = 4560 +/- 1410 microM) and hydroxypravastatin (apparent K(m) = 5290 +/- 1740 microM). In addition, as in the liver, pravastatin was metabolized in the small intestine by sulfation and subsequent degradation to its main metabolite 3'alpha-iso-pravastatin. It was concluded that lovastatin is metabolized by cytochrome P-450 3A enzymes in the small intestine. Compared with lovastatin, the cytochrome P-450-dependent intestinal intrinsic clearance of pravastatin was >5000-fold lower and cannot be expected to significantly affect its oral bioavailability or to be a significant site of drug interactions.

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