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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2012 Jun;56(6):3020-6. doi: 10.1128/AAC.06407-11. Epub 2012 Mar 26.

Divalent metals and pH alter raltegravir disposition in vitro.

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Department of Molecular and Clinical Pharmacology University of Liverpool, Liverpool, United Kingdom.


Raltegravir shows marked pharmacokinetic variability in patients, with gastrointestinal pH and divalent-metal binding being potential factors. We investigated raltegravir solubility, lipophilicity, pK(a), and permeativity in vitro to elucidate known interactions with omeprazole, antacids, and food, all of which increase gastric pH. Solubility of raltegravir was determined at pH 1 to 8. Lipophilicity of raltegravir was determined using octanol-water partition. Raltegravir pK(a) was determined using UV spectroscopy. The effects of pH, metal salts, and omeprazole on the cellular permeativity of raltegravir were determined using Caco-2 monolayers. Cellular accumulation studies were used to determine the effect of interplay between pH and ABCB1 transport on raltegravir accumulation. Samples were analyzed using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectroscopy (LC-MS/MS) or scintillation counting. Raltegravir at 10 mM was partly insoluble at pH 6.6 and below. Raltegravir lipophilicity was pH dependent and was reduced as pH was increased from 5 to 9. The pK(a) of raltegravir was 6.7. Raltegravir cellular permeativity was heavily influenced by changes in extracellular pH, where apical-to-basolateral permeativity was reduced 9-fold (P < 0.05) when apical pH was increased from 5 to 8.5. Raltegravir cellular permeativity was also reduced in the presence of magnesium and calcium. Omeprazole did not alter raltegravir cellular permeativity. Cellular accumulation of raltegravir was increased independently by inhibiting ABCB1 and by lowering extracellular pH from pH 8 to 5. Gastrointestinal pH and polyvalent metals can potentially alter the pharmacokinetic properties of raltegravir, and these data provide an explanation for the variability in raltegravir exposure in patients. The evaluation of how divalent-metal-containing products, such as multivitamins, that do not affect gastric pH alter raltegravir pharmacokinetics in patients is now justified.

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