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Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2009 Oct;68(4):580-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2125.2009.03478.x.

Effects of rifampicin on the pharmacokinetics of roflumilast and roflumilast N-oxide in healthy subjects.

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Nycomed GmbH, 78467 Konstanz, Germany.



To evaluate the effect of co-administration of rifampicin, an inducer of cytochrome P450 (CYP)3A4, on the pharmacokinetics of roflumilast and roflumilast N-oxide. Roflumilast is an oral, once-daily phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4) inhibitor, being developed for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Roflumilast is metabolized by CYP3A4 and CYP1A2, with further involvement of CYP2C19 and extrahepatic CYP1A1. In vivo, roflumilast N-oxide contributes >90% to the total PDE4 inhibitory activity.


Sixteen healthy male subjects were enrolled in an open-label, three-period, fixed-sequence study. They received a single oral dose of roflumilast 500 microg on days 1 and 12 and repeated oral doses of rifampicin 600 mg once daily on days 5-15. Plasma concentrations of roflumilast and roflumilast N-oxide were measured for up to 96 h. Test/Reference ratios and 90% confidence intervals (CIs) of geometric means for AUC and C(max) of roflumilast and roflumilast N-oxide and for oral apparent clearance (CL/F) of roflumilast were estimated.


During the steady-state of rifampicin, the AUC(0-infinity) of roflumilast decreased by 80% (point estimate 0.21; 90% CI 0.16, 0.27); C(max) by 68% (0.32; CI 0.26, 0.39); for roflumilast N-oxide, the AUC(0-infinity) decreased by 56% (0.44; CI 0.36, 0.55); C(max) increased by 30% (1.30; 1.15, 1.48); total PDE4 inhibitory activity decreased by 58% (0.42; 0.38, 0.48).


Co-administration of rifampicin and roflumilast led to a reduction in total PDE4 inhibitory activity of roflumilast by about 58%. The use of potent cytochrome P450 inducers may reduce the therapeutic effect of roflumilast.

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