Time course of recovery of cytochrome p450 3A function after single doses of grapefruit juice

Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2003 Aug;74(2):121-9. doi: 10.1016/S0009-9236(03)00118-8.


Background: Components of grapefruit juice may impair the activity of intestinal cytochrome P450 (CYP) 3A enzymes, sometimes resulting in clinically important drug interactions. The time course of recovery from CYP3A inhibition after a single exposure to grapefruit juice is not clearly established.

Methods: Healthy volunteer subjects (N = 25) received a single 6-mg oral dose of the CYP3A substrate midazolam in the control condition without exposure to grapefruit juice. Two days later, midazolam was administered 2 hours after 300 mL of regular-strength grapefruit juice. Subjects were then randomly assigned to 3 different groups, receiving a third midazolam challenge at 26, 50, or 74 hours after exposure to grapefruit juice. The capacity of 6'7'-dihydroxybergamottin and bergamottin to inhibit human CYP3A was studied in vitro using human liver microsomes.

Results: The area under the plasma concentration curve (AUC) for midazolam increased by a factor of 1.65 (ratio compared with control) when midazolam was given 2 hours after grapefruit juice. At 26, 50, and 74 hours after grapefruit juice, the AUC ratios (mean AUC value at the indicated time divided by the mean control AUC on day 1) were 1.29, 1.29, and 1.06, respectively. The relationship of time after grapefruit juice exposure versus AUC increase over control indicated a recovery half-life estimated at 23 hours. The midazolam elimination half-life did not change significantly from the control value at any time after grapefruit juice exposure. 6'7'-Dihydroxybergamottin inhibited midazolam alpha-hydroxylation in vitro, with a mean 50% inhibitory concentration of 4.7 micro mol/L; preincubation of microsomes with 6'7'-dihydroxybergamottin greatly reduced the 50% inhibitory concentration to 0.31 micro mol/L, consistent with mechanism-based inhibition. Bergamottin itself had much weaker inhibitory potency compared to 6'7'-dihydroxybergamottin.

Conclusions: A usual single exposure to grapefruit juice appears to impair the enteric, but not the hepatic, component of presystemic extraction of oral midazolam. Recovery is largely complete within 3 days, consistent with enzyme regeneration after mechanism-based inhibition. 6'7'-Dihydroxybergamottin was verified as a potent mechanism-based inhibitor of midazolam alpha-hydroxylation by CYP3A in vitro.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Area Under Curve
  • Aryl Hydrocarbon Hydroxylases / metabolism*
  • Beverages*
  • Biotransformation
  • Chromatography, Gas
  • Citrus paradisi*
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP3A
  • Female
  • Furocoumarins / pharmacology
  • Half-Life
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / pharmacokinetics
  • Isoenzymes / metabolism
  • Kinetics
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Male
  • Midazolam / pharmacokinetics
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxidoreductases, N-Demethylating / metabolism*
  • Triazolam / pharmacokinetics


  • Furocoumarins
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives
  • Isoenzymes
  • Triazolam
  • Aryl Hydrocarbon Hydroxylases
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP3A
  • Oxidoreductases, N-Demethylating
  • bergamottin
  • Midazolam