Pharmacokinetic interactions between HIV-protease inhibitors in rats

Biopharm Drug Dispos. 1999 Jul;20(5):241-7. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1099-081x(199907)20:5<241::aid-bdd182>;2-u.


The interactions of four HIV-protease inhibitors, ritonavir (RIT), saquinavir (SAQ), indinavir (IND) and nelfinavir (NEL), were examined by in vitro metabolic studies using rat liver microsomal fractions. The substrate concentrations employed were 0.75 approximately 12 microM, and the inhibitor concentrations were 2.5 approximately 60 microM. The metabolic clearance rates of SAQ, NEL and IND as determined by V(max)/K(m) were 170.9+/-10.9, 126.0+/-4.4 and 73.0+/-2.0 microL/min/mg protein, respectively. RIT was a potent inhibitor of the other three protease inhibitors, and the inhibition constants (K(i)) were 1.64 microM for SAQ, 0.95 microM for IND and 1. 01 microM for NEL. NEL was the second strongest inhibitor with a K(i) for NEL inhibition of IND metabolism of 2.14 microM. IND was the third strongest inhibitor with K(i)s of 2.76 microM for inhibition of NEL and 3.55 microM for inhibition of SAQ. As SAQ has the highest metabolic clearance rate, the K(i) for the SAQ inhibition of IND metabolism was high, 9.50 microM. Based on these in vitro results, drug interactions between NEL and IND or RIT were studied after oral administration to rats where the dose of each drug was 20 mg/kg. The C(max) and AUC of NEL were increased 3.6- and 8.5-fold by the co-administration with RIT. However, in contrast to co-administration of NEL and RIT, the effect of IND on the pharmacokinetics of NEL was negligible and the t(1/2) of NEL was not significantly increased by IND. Therefore, the combination of NEL and IND is recommended as a combination therapy for AIDS patients.

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / drug therapy
  • Animals
  • Drug Interactions
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • HIV Protease Inhibitors / pharmacokinetics*
  • Indinavir / pharmacokinetics
  • Male
  • Nelfinavir / pharmacokinetics
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Ritonavir / pharmacokinetics
  • Saquinavir / pharmacokinetics


  • HIV Protease Inhibitors
  • Indinavir
  • Nelfinavir
  • Saquinavir
  • Ritonavir