Physiologically based pharmacokinetic model of mechanism-based inhibition of CYP3A by clarithromycin

Sara K. Quinney, Xin Zhang, Aroonrut Lucksiri, J. Christopher Gorski, Lang Li, Stephen D. Hall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

56 Scopus citations


The prediction of clinical drug-drug interactions (DDIs) due to mechanism-based inhibitors of CYP3A is complicated when the inhibitor itself is metabolized by CYP3A, as in the case of clarithromycin. Previous attempts to predict the effects of clarithromycin on CYP3A substrates, e.g., midazolam, failed to account for nonlinear metabolism of clarithromycin. A semiphysiologically based pharmacokinetic model was developed for clarithromycin and midazolam metabolism, incorporating hepatic and intestinal metabolism by CYP3A and non-CYP3A mechanisms. CYP3A inactivation by clarithromycin occurred at both sites.KI and kinact values for clarithromycin obtained from in vitro sources were unable to accurately predict the clinical effect of clarithromycin on CYP3A activity. An iterative approach determined the optimum values to predict in vivo effects of clarithromycin on midazolam to be 5.3μMfor Ki and 0.4 and 4 h-1 for kinact in the liver and intestines, respectively. The incorporation of CYP3A-dependent metabolism of clarithromycin enabled prediction of its nonlinear pharmacokinetics. The predicted 2.6-fold change in intravenous midazolam area under the plasma concentration-time curve (AUC) after 500 mg of clarithromycin orally twice daily was consistent with clinical observations. Although the mean predicted 5.3-fold change in the AUC of oral midazolam was lower than mean observed values, it was within the range of observations. Intestinal CYP3A activity was less sensitive to changes inKI, kinact, and CYP3A half-life than hepatic CYP3A. This semiphysiologically based pharmacokinetic model incorporating CYP3A inactivation in the intestine and liver accurately predicts the nonlinear pharmacokinetics of clarithromycin and the DDI observed between clarithromycin and midazolam. Furthermore, this model framework can be applied to other mechanism-based inhibitors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)241-248
Number of pages8
JournalDrug Metabolism and Disposition
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science

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