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Br J Clin Pharmacol. 1995 Oct;40(4):369-78.

An investigation of the interaction between halofantrine, CYP2D6 and CYP3A4: studies with human liver microsomes and heterologous enzyme expression systems.

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Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, University of Liverpool, UK.


1. We have assessed the interaction of the antimalarial halofantrine with cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes in vitro, with the use of microsomes from human liver and recombinant cell lines. 2. Rac-halofantrine was a potent inhibitor (IC50 = 1.06 microM, Ki = 4.3 microM) of the 1-hydroxylation of bufuralol, a marker for CYP2D6 activity. Of a group of structurally related antimalarials tested, only quinidine (IC50 = 0.04 microM) was more potent. 3. Microsomes prepared from recombinant CYP2D6 and CYP3A4 cell lines were shown to catalyse halofantrine N-debutylation. 4. The metabolism of halofantrine to its N-desbutyl metabolite by human liver microsomes showed no correlation with CYP2D6 genotypic or phenotypic status and there was no consistent inhibition by quinidine. 5. The rate of halofantrine metabolism showed a significant correlation with both CYP3A4 protein levels (r = 0.88, P = 0.01) and the rate of felodipine metabolism (r = 0.86, P = 0.013), a marker substrate for CYP3A4 activity. Inhibition studies showed that ketoconazole is a potent inhibitor of halofantrine metabolism (IC50 = 1.57 microM). 6. In conclusion, we have demonstrated that halofantrine is a potent inhibitor of CYP2D6 in vitro and can also be metabolised by the enzyme. However, in human liver microsomes it appears to be metabolised largely by CYP3A4.

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