To study whether chronic liver disease (CLD) and genetic polymorphism affect the hepatic activity of cytochrome P450 (CYP) isoforms, we compared in vivo CYP2C19 and CYP3A activities using 3-hour omeprazole hydroxylation index (plasma concentration ratio of omeprazole to its 5-hydroxylated metabolite; a higher index indicates lower CYP2C19 activity) and partial formation clearance of cortisol to 6beta-hydroxycortisol (CL(cortisol-->6beta-HC)) in 31 CLD patients (9 with chronic hepatitis; 22 with cirrhosis comprising 20 Child-Pugh type A, 1 type B, and 1 type C) and 30 healthy subjects with different CYP2C19 genotypes. The mean (+/-SEM) omeprazole hydroxylation index in CLD patients with homozygous extensive metabolizer (EM) genotype (*1/*1, n = 8), heterozyous EM (*1/*2, n = 11; *1/*3, n = 6) genotypes and poor metabolizer (PM) genotypes (*2/*2, n = 3; *3/*3, n = 3) were 17.15 +/- 2.12, 20.02 +/- 2.63, and 26.04 +/- 3.15, respectively, which were significantly higher compared with control subjects with the corresponding CYP2C19 genotypes (0.81 +/- 0.09, 1.55 +/- 0.20, and 15.5 +/- 1.52). CLD patients with PM genotype had significantly (P < .05) higher omeprazole hydroxylation indexes than did those with homozygous EM genotype, and those with heterozygous EM genotypes had intermediate values. The mean CL(cortisol-->6beta-HC) decreased significantly (P < .001) in CLD patients compared with control subjects (1.19 +/- 0.12 versus 2.26 +/- 0.24 mL/min). Multiple regression analysis showed that CLD, serum albumin level, and CYP2C19 genotype correlated significantly (P < .05) with the omeprazole hydroxylation index, whereas no significant correlation was observed between CL(cortisol-->6beta-HC) and other variables, except CLD. Because CLD and genetic polymorphism of CYP2C19 act additively to reduce CYP2C19 activity, genotyping these patients may be of value in averting adverse reactions of drugs that depend on CYP2C19 for elimination.