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Drug Metab Dispos. 2000 Feb;28(2):125-30.

Drug interactions with calcium channel blockers: possible involvement of metabolite-intermediate complexation with CYP3A.

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Department of Drug Metabolism, Merck Research Laboratories, West Point, Pennsylvania 19486, USA.


The inhibitory effects of six commonly used calcium channel blockers on three major cytochrome P-450 activities were examined and characterized in human liver microsomes. All six compounds reversibly inhibited CYP2D6 (bufuralol 1'-hydroxylation) and CYP2C9 (tolbutamide methyl hydroxylation) activities. The IC(50) values for the inhibition of CYP2D6 and CYP2C9 for nicardipine were 3 to 9 microM, whereas those for all others ranged from 14 to >150 microM. Except for nifedipine, all calcium channel blockers showed increased inhibitory potency toward CYP3A activities (testosterone 6beta-hydroxylation and midazolam 1'-hydroxylation) after 30-min preincubation with NADPH. IC(50) values for the inhibition of testosterone 6beta-hydroxylase obtained in the NADPH-preincubation experiment for nicardipine (1 microM), verapamil (2 microM), and diltiazem (5 microM) were within 10-fold, whereas those for amlodipine (5 microM) and felodipine (13 microM) were >200-fold of their respective plasma concentrations reported after therapeutic doses. Similar results also were obtained based on midazolam 1'-hydroxylase activity. Unlike the observations with mibefradil, a potent irreversible inhibitor of CYP3A, the NADPH-dependent inhibition of CYP3A activity by nicardipine and verapamil was completely reversible on dialysis, whereas that by diltiazem was partially restored (80%). Additional experiments revealed that nicardipine, verapamil, and diltiazem formed cytochrome P-450-iron (II)-metabolite complex in both human liver microsomes and recombinant CYP3A4. Nicardipine yielded a higher extent of complex formation ( approximately 30% at 100 microM), and was a much faster-acting inhibitor (maximal inhibition rate constant approximately 2 min(-1)) as compared with verapamil and diltiazem. These present findings that the CYP3A inhibition caused by nicardipine, verapamil, and diltiazem is, at least in part, quasi-irreversible provide a rational basis for pharmacokinetically significant interactions reported when they were coadministered with agents that are cleared primarily by CYP3A-mediated pathways.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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