Drug glucuronidation in clinical psychopharmacology

J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2001 Oct;21(5):500-15. doi: 10.1097/00004714-200110000-00008.


Glucuronidation is a phase II metabolic process and one of the most common pathways in the formation of hydrophilic drug metabolites. At least 33 families of uridine diphosphate-glucuronosyltransferases have been identified in vitro, and specific nomenclature similar to that used to classify the cytochrome (CYP) P450 system has been established. The UGT1 and UGT2 subfamilies represent the most important of these enzymes in human drug metabolism. Factors affecting glucuronidation include the following: cigarette smoking, obesity, age, and gender. In addition, several drugs have been found in vitro to be substrates, inhibitors, or inducers of UGT enzymes. Induction or inhibition of both UGT and CYP isoforms may occur simultaneously. Some important drug interactions involving glucuronidation have been documented and others can be postulated. This review summarizes the relevant literature pertaining to drug glucuronidation and its implications for clinical psychopharmacology.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / metabolism
  • Drug Interactions
  • Female
  • Glucuronates / metabolism*
  • Glucuronosyltransferase / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / drug therapy
  • Mental Disorders / metabolism*
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychopharmacology*
  • Psychotropic Drugs / metabolism
  • Psychotropic Drugs / therapeutic use


  • Glucuronates
  • Psychotropic Drugs
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System
  • Glucuronosyltransferase