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Drug Metab Dispos. 2013 Oct;41(10):1875-82. doi: 10.1124/dmd.113.052753. Epub 2013 Aug 8.

Pitavastatin as an in vivo probe for studying hepatic organic anion transporting polypeptide-mediated drug-drug interactions in cynomolgus monkeys.

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Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics Research Laboratories Department I, Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation, Toda, Saitama, Japan (T.T., T.O., T.K.); Pharmacokinetics and Bioanalysis Center, Shin Nippon Biomedical Laboratories, Ltd., Kainan, Wakayama, Japan (T.Y., I.T., Y.U., M.U.); and Laboratory of Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics, Showa Pharmaceutical University, Machida, Tokyo, Japan (H.Y.).


Drug-drug interactions (DDIs) caused by the inhibition of hepatic uptake transporters such as organic anion transporting polypeptide (OATP) can affect therapeutic efficacy and cause adverse reactions. We investigated the potential utility of pitavastatin as an in vivo probe substrate for preclinically studying OATP-mediated DDIs using cynomolgus monkeys. Cyclosporine A (CsA) and rifampicin (RIF), typical OATP inhibitors, inhibited active uptake of pitavastatin into monkey hepatocytes with half-maximal inhibitory concentration values comparable with those in human hepatocytes. CsA and RIF increased the area under the plasma concentration-time curve (AUC) of intravenously administered pitavastatin in cynomolgus monkeys by 3.2- and 3.6-fold, respectively. In addition, there was no apparent prolongation of the elimination half-life of pitavastatin due to the decrease in both hepatic clearance and volume of distribution. These findings suggest that DDIs were caused by the inhibition of hepatic uptake of pitavastatin. CsA and RIF increased the AUC of orally administered pitavastatin by 10.6- and 14.8-fold, respectively, which was additionally caused by the effect of the CsA and RIF in the gastrointestinal tract. Hepatic contribution to the overall DDI for oral pitavastatin with CsA was calculated from the changes in hepatic availability and clearance, and it was shown that the magnitude of hepatic DDI was comparable between the present study and the clinical study. In conclusion, pharmacokinetic studies using pitavastatin as a probe in combination with drug candidates in cynomolgus monkeys are useful to support the assessment of potential clinical DDIs involving hepatic uptake transporters.

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