ABCB1 and cytochrome P450 genotypes and phenotypes: influence on methadone plasma levels and response to treatment

Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2006 Dec;80(6):668-81. doi: 10.1016/j.clpt.2006.09.012.


Background and objective: The in vivo implication of various cytochrome P450 (CYP) isoforms and of P-glycoprotein on methadone kinetics is unclear. We aimed to thoroughly examine the genetic factors influencing methadone kinetics and response to treatment.

Methods: Genotyping for CYP1A2, CYP2B6, CYP2C9, CYP2C19, CYP2D6, CYP3A4, CYP3A5, ABCB1, and UGT2B7 polymorphisms was performed in 245 patients undergoing methadone maintenance treatment. To assess CYP3A activity, the patients were phenotyped with midazolam.

Results: The patients with lower CYP3A activity presented higher steady-state trough (R,S)-methadone plasma levels (4.3, 3.0, and 2.3 ng/mL x mg for low, medium, and high activity, respectively; P = .0002). As previously reported, CYP2B6*6/*6 carriers had significantly higher trough (S)-methadone plasma levels (P = .0001) and a trend toward higher (R)-methadone plasma levels (P = .07). CYP2D6 ultrarapid metabolizers presented lower trough (R,S)-methadone plasma levels compared with the extensive or intermediate metabolizers (2.4 and 3.3 ng/mL x mg, respectively; P = .04), whereas CYP2D6 poor metabolizer status showed no influence. ABCB1 3435TT carriers presented lower trough (R,S)-methadone plasma levels (2.7 and 3.4 ng/mL . mg for 3435TT and 3435CC carriers, respectively; P = .01). The CYP1A2, CYP2C9, CYP2C19, CYP3A5, and UGT2B7 genotypes did not influence methadone plasma levels. Only CYP2B6 displayed a stereoselectivity in its activity.

Conclusion: In vivo, CYP3A4 and CYP2B6 are the major CYP isoforms involved in methadone metabolism, with CYP2D6 contributing to a minor extent. ABCB1 genetic polymorphisms also contribute slightly to the interindividual variability of methadone kinetics. The genetic polymorphisms of these 4 proteins had no influence on the response to treatment and only a small influence on the dose requirement of methadone.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B
  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1
  • Adult
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / genetics*
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / metabolism
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methadone / blood*
  • Methadone / metabolism
  • Methadone / therapeutic use
  • Middle Aged
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / rehabilitation
  • Organic Anion Transporters / genetics*
  • Pharmacogenetics
  • Phenotype*
  • Polymorphism, Genetic / genetics*
  • Protein Isoforms / genetics
  • Stereoisomerism


  • ABCB1 protein, human
  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B
  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1
  • Organic Anion Transporters
  • Protein Isoforms
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System
  • Methadone