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The ability of tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) to inhibit phenytoin p-hydroxylation was evaluated in vitro by incubation studies of human liver microsomes and cDNA-expressed cytochrome p450s (p450s). The TCAs tested were amitriptyline, imipramine, nortriptyline, and desipramine. Amitriptyline and imipramine strongly and competitively inhibited phenytoin p-hydroxylation in microsomal incubations (estimated K(i) values of 5.2 and 15.5 micro M, respectively). In contrast, nortriptyline and desipramine produced only weak inhibition. In the incubation study using cDNA-expressed P450s, both CYP2C9 and CYP2C19 catalyzed phenytoin p-hydroxylation, whereas TCAs inhibited only the CYP2C19 pathway. All of the TCAs tested inhibited CYP2D6-catalyzed dextromethorphan-O-demethylation competitively, with estimated K(i) values of 31.0, 28.6, 7.9, and 12.5 micro M, respectively. The tertiary amine TCAs, amitriptyline and imipramine, also inhibited CYP2C19-catalyzed S-mephenytoin 4'-hydroxylation (estimated K(i) of 37.7 and 56.8 micro M, respectively). The secondary amine TCAs, nortriptyline and desipramine, however, showed minimal inhibition of CYP2C19 (estimated IC(50) of 600 and 685 micro M, respectively). None of the TCAs tested produced remarkable inhibition of any other p450 isoforms. These results suggest that TCAs inhibit both CYP2D6 and CYP2C19 and that the interaction between TCAs and phenytoin involves inhibition of CYP2C19-catalyzed phenytoin p-hydroxylation.


Jae-Gook Shin, Ji-Young Park, Min-Jung Kim, Ji-Hong Shon, Young-Ran Yoon, In-June Cha, Sang-Seop Lee, Se-Wook Oh, Sang-Woo Kim, David A Flockhart. Inhibitory effects of tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) on human cytochrome P450 enzymes in vitro: mechanism of drug interaction between TCAs and phenytoin. Drug metabolism and disposition: the biological fate of chemicals. 2002 Oct;30(10):1102-7

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PMID: 12228186

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