High frequency of CYP2D6 poor and "intermediate" metabolizers in black populations: a review and preliminary data

Psychopharmacol Bull. 1998;34(4):797-804.


There is little and conflicting information concerning polymorphism of CYP2D6 in populations of Africans and African descent. Estimations of the prevalence of poor metabolizers (PMs) in Black populations have ranged from 0 to 19 percent, and unlike Caucasian and Asian populations, there seems to be a poor correlation in metabolic ratios (MRs) between commonly used CYP2D6 probe drugs. A novel mutant allele, CYP2D6*17, which is associated with reduced metabolic rates, has been determined to occur in high frequencies in African and African American populations. In the present pilot study, there was a high frequency of CYP2D6*17, and about one-third of the African-American participants showed a reduced capacity to metabolize dextromethorphan, a CYP2D6 probe drug. The CYP2D6*17 allele and other variants may possibly play a role in the inconsistent variation of phenotypes in Black populations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • African Continental Ancestry Group / genetics*
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2D6 / genetics*
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2D6 / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Polymorphism, Genetic / genetics


  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2D6