Differential effect of cimetidine on drug oxidation (antipyrine and diazepam) vs. conjugation (acetaminophen and lorazepam): Prevention of acetaminophen toxicity by cimetidine

D. R. Abernethy, D. J. Greenblatt, M. Divoll, B. Ameer, R. I. Shader

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Fourteen healthy volunteers received a single i.v. dose of antipyrine (1.2 g) on two occasions, once before and once during cimetidine treatment (300 mg every 6 hr). In a similar manner, 8 subjects received diazepam (10 mg), 11 subjects received acetaminophen (650 mg) and 8 subjects received lorazepam (2 mg), all by the i.v. route, once before and once during cimetidine coadministration. Pharmacokinetic analysis indicated increased antipyrine elimination T2 during cimetidine treatment (16.7 vs. 10.9 hr; P < .001) on the basis of decreased total metabolic clearance (0.46 vs. 0.72 ml/min/kg; P < .001). Likewise, diazepam T2 was increase (58 vs. 39 hr; P < .01) during cimetidine treatment due to decreased total metabolic clearance (0.42 vs. 0.30 ml/min/kg; P < .01). In contrast, cimetidine did not alter T2 or the clearance of lorazepam (T2, 16.8 vs. 15.3 hr; clearance, 1.03 vs. 1.07 ml/min/kg) or acetaminophen (T2, 2.66 vs. 2.60 hr; clearance, 4.8 vs. 4.5 ml/min/kg), both drugs which undergo conjugative biotransformation. In an animal model used to assess the effect of cimetidine on acetaminophen toxicity, the LD 50 of acetaminophen alone in Charles River CD-1 mice was 480 mg/kg (95% confidence interval: 436-528 mg/kg). With simultaneous 75 mg/kg of cimetidine treatment, the LD 50 for acetaminophen was significantly increased (P < .05) to 1020 mg/kg (95% confidence interval: 962-1081 mg/kg). Thus, cimetidine slows the metabolic clearance of antipyrine and diazepam, drugs biotransformed by hepatic oxidation, but does not alter the kinetics of acetaminophen or lorazepam, both metabolized by conjugation. Cimetidine may decrease the toxicity of high-dose acetaminophen by preventing formation of the hepatotoxic oxidative metabolites, although having no effect on conjugation of acetaminophen which yields nontoxic metabolites that are subsequently cleared from the body.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)508-513
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Volume224
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1983

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology

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