Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2001 Feb;51(2):133-42.

Involvement of multiple human cytochromes P450 in the liver microsomal metabolism of astemizole and a comparison with terfenadine.

Author information

Division of Drug Metabolism and Molecular Toxicology, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Tohoku University, Aramaki-Aoba, Aoba-ku, Sendai, Miyagi 980-8578, Japan.



The aims of the present study were to investigate the metabolism of astemizole in human liver microsomes, to assess possible pharmacokinetic drug-interactions with astemizole and to compare its metabolism with terfenadine, a typical H1 receptor antagonist known to be metabolized predominantly by CYP3A4.


Astemizole or terfenadine were incubated with human liver microsomes or recombinant cytochromes P450 in the absence or presence of chemical inhibitors and antibodies.


Troleandomycin, a CYP3A4 inhibitor, markedly reduced the oxidation of terfenadine (26% of controls) in human liver microsomes, but showed only a marginal inhibition on the oxidation of astemizole (81% of controls). Three metabolites of astemizole were detected in a liver microsomal system, i.e. desmethylastemizole (DES-AST), 6-hydroxyastemizole (6OH-AST) and norastemizole (NOR-AST) at the ratio of 7.4 : 2.8 : 1. Experiments with recombinant P450s and antibodies indicate a negligible role for CYP3A4 on the main metabolic route of astemizole, i.e. formation of DES-AST, although CYP3A4 may mediate the relatively minor metabolic routes to 6OH-AST and NOR-AST. Recombinant CYP2D6 catalysed the formation of 6OH-AST and DES-AST. Studies with human liver microsomes, however, suggest a major role for a mono P450 in DES-AST formation.


In contrast to terfenadine, a minor role for CYP3A4 and involvement of multiple P450 isozymes are suggested in the metabolism of astemizole. These differences in P450 isozymes involved in the metabolism of astemizole and terfenadine may associate with distinct pharmacokinetic influences observed with coadministration of drugs metabolized by CYP3A4.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Wiley Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center