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Clin Pharmacol Ther. 1987 Oct;42(4):388-94.

The mechanism of the warfarin-rifampin drug interaction in humans.

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Department of Medicinal Chemistry, School of Pharmacy, University of Washington, Seattle 98195.


The mechanism of the drug interaction in humans between warfarin and rifampin was investigated by monitoring the elimination kinetics and metabolic disposition of a single oral dose of pseudoracemic warfarin by GC/MS. The decrease in hypoprothrombinemia observed with concomitant administration of therapeutic doses of rifampin was accompanied by a substantial decrease in the elimination half-lives of both warfarin enantiomers. Rifampin increased the clearance of (R)-warfarin threefold and the clearance of (S)-warfarin twofold. The excretion profiles for warfarin and its metabolites in urine and feces were similar for both control and treated subjects with the exception that 4'-hydroxywarfarin (stereoselective for the (S)-enantiomer) was observed when rifampin was administered. 4'-Hydroxywarfarin is a metabolite of the drug hitherto undetected in vivo in humans. Based on formation clearance values estimated for 6-, 7-, and 8-hydroxywarfarin, rifampin appears to increase the clearance of the parent drug by induction of the cytochrome P-450 isozyme(s) responsible for aromatic hydroxylation.

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