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Xenobiotica. 1999 Sep;29(9):931-44.

Biotransformation of alprazolam by members of the human cytochrome P4503A subfamily.

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Department of Medicine, Indiana University, Indianapolis 46202, USA.


1. To aid in the prediction of drug interactions with alprazolam, the human CYP involved in the 1'- and 4-hydroxylation of alprazolam were characterized using human liver microsomes, expressed enzymes and selective chemical inhibitors. 2. The formation of 4-hydroxyalprazolam and 1'-hydroxyalprazolam at an alprazolam concentration of 62.5 microM were reduced by the prototypic CYP3A inhibitor, troleandomycin (50 microM), by 97 and 9900 respectively. Only microsomes from B-lymphoblastoid cells expressing CYP3A4 were capable of catalysing the 1'- and 4-hydroxylation of alprazolam. 3. The formation rates of 1'-hydroxyalprazolam and 4-hydroxyalprazolam at an alprazolam concentration of 1 mM were significantly correlated (n = 19, r = 0.95, p<0.01) indicating that the same enzyme(s) mediated these biotransformations. A significant (p<0.01) correlation was observed between alprazolam 4- and 1'-hydroxylase activity and CYP3A-mediated midazolam 4-hydroxylase, midazolam 1'-hydroxylase, dextromethorphan N-demethylase and erythromycin N-demethylase activities. 4. In conclusion, in adult human liver the CYP3A subfamily members are the principal enzymes involved in the 1'- and 4-hydroxylation of alprazolam. Thus, clinically significant drug drug interactions between alprazolam and other CYP3A substrates are to be expected.

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