The effect of food components on the absorption of P-gp substrates: a review

J Pharm Pharmacol. 2003 Feb;55(2):153-62. doi: 10.1211/002235702603.


P-glycoprotein (P-gp), a well characterized efflux mechanism which is functionally expressed in the intestinal epithelium, constitutes, along with intestinal metabolism, an important part of the biochemical barrier function of the intestinal mucosa. This efflux carrier may be responsible for limiting the bioavailability of several drugs after oral intake. Recently, increasing attention is being paid to the interaction of dietary components with the intestinal absorption of drugs. This review focuses on the modulating capacity of food components on the intestinal absorption of P-gp substrates. The possible P-gp inhibitory effects of several dietary constituents are discussed. In addition, this review will also focus on the effect of several bioflavonoids on the P-gp-mediated efflux of drugs. As the role of P-gp (and other efflux carriers, including multidrug resistance-associated proteins and breast cancer resistance protein) in limiting the bioavailability of drugs becomes more clear, more research is required firstly to identify the effect of dietary compounds on these efflux carriers and secondly to reveal the clinical relevance of this interaction.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B* / drug effects
  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B* / metabolism
  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B* / physiology
  • Flavonoids / pharmacology*
  • Food*
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Absorption*
  • Pharmacokinetics*
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B
  • Flavonoids