Comparison of verapamil, diltiazem, and labetalol on the bioavailability and metabolism of imipramine

J Clin Pharmacol. 1992 Feb;32(2):176-83. doi: 10.1002/j.1552-4604.1992.tb03823.x.


Twelve healthy male subjects completed this randomized, placebo controlled, four-period crossover trial to determine the effect of verapamil, diltiazem, and labetalol on the bioavailability and metabolism of imipramine. Subjects received a 7-day course of one of four treatments; verapamil (120 mg every 8 hr), diltiazem (90 mg every 8 hr), labetalol (200 mg every 12 hr), or placebo (every 12 hr) during each study period. Imipramine (100 mg) was administered orally on the morning of day 4 of each study period. Plasma and urine samples were collected periodically over the ensuing 96 hours. Samples were assayed by HPLC for imipramine, desipramine, 2-hydroxyimipramine, and 2-hydroxydesipramine. Verapamil, diltiazem, and labetalol increased imipramine area under the plasma concentration time curve (relative bioavailability) as compared with placebo by 15%, 30%, and 53%, respectively. Verapamil and diltiazem did not demonstrate consistent changes in the formation of the measured metabolites. Labetalol caused a significant decrease in the amount of imipramine metabolized to 2-hydroxyimipramine (mean decrease: 22%) and from desipramine to 2-hydroxydesipramine (mean decrease: 8%). The molar ratios of plasma AUC of 2-hydroxyimipramine and 2-hydroxydesipramine to the parent compounds were significantly decreased. Since these metabolic processes are dependent on the cytochrome P450IID6 isozyme, these data suggest that labetalol decreases the oral clearance of imipramine by inhibiting this system. All three of these commonly used agents decreased the oral clearance of imipramine. These drug interactions could lead to elevated imipramine concentrations and have the potential for clinically important adverse events.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antidepressive Agents, Tricyclic / metabolism
  • Biological Availability
  • Desipramine / analogs & derivatives
  • Desipramine / metabolism
  • Diltiazem / pharmacology*
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Drug Interactions
  • Humans
  • Imipramine / administration & dosage
  • Imipramine / analogs & derivatives
  • Imipramine / metabolism
  • Imipramine / pharmacokinetics*
  • Labetalol / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Verapamil / pharmacology*


  • Antidepressive Agents, Tricyclic
  • 2-hydroxyimipramine
  • Verapamil
  • Diltiazem
  • Imipramine
  • Labetalol
  • Desipramine
  • 2-hydroxydesipramine