Cytochrome p450 enzymes mechanism based inhibitors: common sub-structures and reactivity

Curr Drug Metab. 2005 Oct;6(5):413-54. doi: 10.2174/138920005774330639.


The inhibition of human cytochrome P450s (CYPs) is one of the most common mechanisms which can lead to drug-drug interactions. The inhibition of CYPs can be reversible (competitive or non-competitive) or irreversible. Irreversible inhibition usually derives from activation of a drug by CYPs into a reactive metabolite, which tightly binds to the enzyme active site, leading to a long lasting inactivation. This process is called "mechanism based inhibition" or "suicide inhibition". The irreversible inactivation usually implies the formation of a covalent bond between the metabolite and the enzyme, which can lead to hapten formation and can in some cases trigger an autoimmune-response. For these reasons it is of utmost importance to study the mechanism of the CYP inhibition of new potential drugs as early as possible during the drug discovery process. The literature on CYPs is vast and covers numerous aspects of their biology and biochemistry, however to our knowledge there is no general and systematic review focusing on mechanism-based inhibitors; we have reviewed the literature and compiled all the available data on chemical entities, which are known to be CYP suicide inhibitors. Each compound is reported together with its chemical structure, the CYP isoform and the parameters describing the inactivation. Literature references are reported together with their PMID (PubMed ID number) to allow a fast retrieval of the papers. This review offers a quick reference to help predict liabilities of new chemical entities without carrying out extensive in vitro work, and will hopefully help in designing safer drugs.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme Inhibitors*
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / chemistry
  • Drug Interactions
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / chemistry
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Isoenzymes / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Isoenzymes / chemistry
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Terminology as Topic


  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Isoenzymes
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System