Cytochrome P450 drug interactions within the HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor class: are they clinically relevant?


Martin J, Krum H.




Drug Saf


The present review outlines the clinical relevance of pharmacokinetic drug interactions within the HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor class. These interactions can result in markedly increased or decreased plasma concentrations of some drugs within this class. However, the relationship between altered plasma concentrations and adverse effects or toxicity may not be linear. It is likely that other variables affect this concentration-effect relationship including: rapid changes in the concentration, concomitant lipid-lowering therapy or host genetic factors that code for different forms or amounts of metabolising enzymes and drug receptors. It is not currently possible to predict which patients will manifest clinically important drug-drug interactions, nor what concentration of an HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor will cause rhabdomyolysis. Thus, until prescribers have better scientific information from which to develop a 'therapeutic range' for each agent, caution should be exercised. In particular, patients taking a CYP3A4-metabolised agent, e.g. atorvastatin, simvastatin and lovastatin, should not be started on a CYP3A4 inhibitor or inducer without close monitoring.