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Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2006 Nov;80(5):522-30.

Effect of grapefruit juice on cytochrome P450 2A6 and nicotine renal clearance.

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Division of Clinical Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, Medical Service, San Francisco General Hospital Medical Center, and Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco 94143-1220, USA.



Grapefruit juice is an inhibitor of the cytochrome P450 (CYP) 3A4 enzyme and transporters such as P-glycoprotein and organic anion transporting polypeptides, leading to clinically important interactions. Our objective was to study the effect of grapefruit juice on the pharmacokinetics of nicotine, which is primarily metabolized by the CYP2A6 enzyme.


Ten volunteers were given a 2-mg oral dose of deuterium-labeled nicotine on 3 occasions together with 1 L of water, full-strength grapefruit juice, or half-strength grapefruit juice. Concentrations of nicotine and its metabolites were analyzed in plasma and urine for 8 hours.


Grapefruit juice inhibited the formation of cotinine from nicotine (area under the plasma cotinine concentration-time curve from 0 to 8 hours of 6807, 7805, and 8007 for full-strength grapefruit juice, half-strength grapefruit juice, and water, respectively; repeated-measures ANOVA, P=.009). The time to peak plasma concentration of cotinine was delayed (216 minutes, 159 minutes, and 147 minutes, respectively; ANOVA, P=.011), and the peak plasma concentration was lower with grapefruit juice compared with water (18 ng/mL, 21 ng/mL, and 22 ng/mL, respectively; ANOVA, P=.010). Oral clearance, peak plasma concentration, and time to peak plasma concentration of nicotine were not affected. Grapefruit juice increased the renal clearance of nicotine (231 mL/min, 219 mL/min, and 123 mL/min, respectively; ANOVA, P=.045) and cotinine (19 mL/min, 14 mL/min, and 16 mL/min, respectively; ANOVA, P=.002).


Grapefruit juice inhibits the metabolism of nicotine to cotinine, a pathway mediated by CYP2A6, and increases the renal clearance of nicotine and cotinine. Nicotine oral clearance is not affected by grapefruit juice because the inhibition of hepatic metabolism is offset by the increase in the renal clearance of nicotine. However, other compounds metabolized by CYP2A6, as well as other drugs excreted via renal clearance mechanisms similar to those of nicotine, may be susceptible to significant pharmacokinetic grapefruit juice interactions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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