Helsingin yliopisto


Helsingin yliopiston verkkojulkaisut

University of Helsinki, Helsinki 2006

Pharmacokinetic interactions affecting the antidiabetic repaglinide

Lauri Kajosaari

Doctoral dissertation, December 2006.
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Medicine, Institute of Clinical Medicine, Department of Clinical Pharmacology.


Repaglinide is a short-acting drug, used to reduce postprandial hyperglycaemia in type 2 diabetic patients. Repaglinide is extensively metabolised, and its oral bioavailability is about 60%; its metabolites are mainly excreted into bile. In previous studies, the cytochrome P450 (CYP) 3A4 inhibitors itraconazole and clarithromycin have moderately increased the area under the concentration-time curve (AUC) of repaglinide. Gemfibrozil, a CYP2C8 inhibitor, has greatly increased repaglinide AUC, enhancing and prolonging its blood glucose-lowering effect. Rifampicin has decreased the AUC and effects of repaglinide.


The aims of this work were to investigate the contribution of CYP2C8 and CYP3A4 to the metabolism of repaglinide, and to study other potential drug interactions affecting the pharmacokinetics of repaglinide, and the mechanisms of observed interactions.


The metabolism of repaglinide was studied in vitro using recombinant human CYP enzymes and pooled human liver microsomes (HLM). The effect of trimethoprim, cyclosporine, bezafibrate, fenofibrate, gemfibrozil, and rifampicin on the metabolism of repaglinide, and the effect of fibrates and rifampicin on the activity of CYP2C8 and CYP3A4 were investigated in vitro.

Randomised, placebo-controlled cross-over studies were carried out in healthy human volunteers to investigate the effect of bezafibrate, fenofibrate, trimethoprim, cyclosporine, telithromycin, montelukast and pioglitazone on the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of repaglinide. Pretreatment with clinically relevant doses of the study drug or placebo was followed by a single dose of repaglinide, after which blood and urine samples were collected to determine pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic parameters.


In vitro, the contribution of CYP2C8 was similar to that of CYP3A4 in the metabolism of repaglinide (< 2 μM). Bezafibrate, fenofibrate, gemfibrozil, and rifampicin moderately inhibited CYP2C8 and repaglinide metabolism, but only rifampicin inhibited CYP3A4 in vitro.

Bezafibrate, fenofibrate, montelukast, and pioglitazone had no effect on the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of repaglinide in vivo. The CYP2C8 inhibitor trimethoprim inhibited repaglinide metabolism by HLM in vitro and increased repaglinide AUC by 61% in vivo (P < .001). The CYP3A4 inhibitor telithromycin increased repaglinide AUC 1.8-fold (P < .001) and enhanced its blood glucose-lowering effect in vivo. Cyclosporine inhibited the CYP3A4-mediated (but not CYP2C8-mediated) metabolism of repaglinide in vitro and increased repaglinide AUC 2.4-fold in vivo (P < .001). The effect of cyclosporine on repaglinide AUC in vivo correlated with the SLCO1B1 (encoding organic anion transporting polypeptide 1, OATP1B1) genotype.


The relative contributions of CYP2C8 and CYP3A4 to the metabolism of repaglinide are similar in vitro, when therapeutic repaglinide concentrations are used. In vivo, repaglinide AUC was considerably increased by inhibition of both CYP2C8 (by trimethoprim) and CYP3A4 (by telithromycin). Cyclosporine raised repaglinide AUC even higher, probably by inhibiting the CYP3A4-mediated biotransformation and OATP1B1-mediated hepatic uptake of repaglinide. Bezafibrate, fenofibrate, montelukast, and pioglitazone had no effect on the pharmacokinetics of repaglinide, suggesting that they do not significantly inhibit CYP2C8 or CYP3A4 in vivo.

Coadministration of drugs that inhibit CYP2C8, CYP3A4 or OATP1B1 may increase the plasma concentrations and blood glucose-lowering effect of repaglinide, requiring closer monitoring of blood glucose concentrations to avoid hypoglycaemia, and adjustment of repaglinide dosage as necessary.

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Last updated 21.11.2006

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