Salivary analysis for determination of dextromethorphan metabolic phenotype

Clin Pharmacol Ther. 1991 Apr;49(4):410-9. doi: 10.1038/clpt.1991.48.


Debrisoquin oxidative phenotype is a determinant of pharmacologic response for many drugs. Poor and extensive metabolizers can be identified by the dextromethorphan metabolic ratio (dextromethorphan/dextrorphan). We developed and tested a method to determine debrisoquin phenotype on the basis of the metabolic ratio in saliva. Each of 62 normal volunteers was given a 50 mg capsule of dextromethorphan hydrobromide and collected urine (0 to 8 hours) and saliva (at 3 hours). Dextromethorphan and dextrorphan in saliva and urine were assayed by HPLC. The distributions of paired urinary and 3-hour salivary metabolic ratios of samples from 61 subjects were compared. The urinary and salivary metabolic ratios were distributed trimodally and bimodally, respectively. The Spearman rank correlation coefficient for logarithm of urinary metabolic ratio vs that of salivary metabolic ratio was 0.704. All the poor metabolizers identified by urinary metabolic ratio were also identified by the metabolic ratio in saliva at 3 hours (100% concordance). This study demonstrates that salivary analysis for determination of dextromethorphan metabolic phenotype is feasible.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Continental Population Groups
  • Dextromethorphan / metabolism*
  • Dextromethorphan / urine
  • Dextrorphan / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phenotype
  • Saliva / metabolism*


  • Dextrorphan
  • Dextromethorphan