Drug-drug interactions that alter the exposure of glucuronidated drugs: Scope, UDP-glucuronosyltransferase (UGT) enzyme selectivity, mechanisms (inhibition and induction), and clinical significance

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Abstract

Drug-drug interactions (DDIs) arising from the perturbation of drug metabolising enzyme activities represent both a clinical problem and a potential economic loss for the pharmaceutical industry. DDIs involving glucuronidated drugs have historically attracted little attention and there is a perception that interactions are of minor clinical relevance. This review critically examines the scope and aetiology of DDIs that result in altered exposure of glucuronidated drugs. Interaction mechanisms, namely inhibition and induction of UDP-glucuronosyltransferase (UGT) enzymes and the potential interplay with drug transporters, are reviewed in detail, as is the clinical significance of known DDIs. Altered victim drug exposure arising from modulation of UGT enzyme activities is relatively common and, notably, the incidence and importance of UGT induction as a DDI mechanism is greater than generally believed. Numerous DDIs are clinically relevant, resulting in either loss of efficacy or an increased risk of adverse effects, necessitating dose individualisation. Several generalisations relating to the likelihood of DDIs can be drawn from the known substrate and inhibitor selectivities of UGT enzymes, highlighting the importance of comprehensive reaction phenotyping studies at an early stage of drug development. Further, rigorous assessment of the DDI liability of new chemical entities that undergo glucuronidation to a significant extent has been recommended recently by regulatory guidance. Although evidence-based approaches exist for the in vitro characterisation of UGT enzyme inhibition and induction, the availability of drugs considered appropriate for use as ‘probe’ substrates in clinical DDI studies is limited and this should be a research priority.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108459
Number of pages58
JournalPharmacology and Therapeutics
Volume248
Early online date30 May 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023

Keywords

  • Drug glucuronidation
  • Drug metabolism
  • Drug-drug interactions
  • Enzyme induction
  • Enzyme inhibition
  • Glucuronide
  • Metabolism-transport interplay
  • Regulatory guidance
  • UDP-Glucuronosyltransferase
  • UDP-Glycosyltransferase

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