Genetic Polymorphisms of Cytochrome P450 Enzymes and Antidepressant Metabolism

Expert Opin Drug Metab Toxicol. 2011 Sep;7(9):1101-15. doi: 10.1517/17425255.2011.597740. Epub 2011 Jul 8.


Introduction: The cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes are the major enzymes responsible for Phase I reactions in the metabolism of several substances, including antidepressant medications. Thus, it has been hypothesized that variants in the CYP network may influence antidepressant efficacy and safety. Nonetheless, data on this field are still contradictory. The authors aim to give an overview of the published studies analyzing the influence of CYP highly polymorphic loci on antidepressant treatment in order to translate the acquired knowledge to a clinical level.

Areas covered: The authors collected and compared experimental works and reviews published from the 1980s to the present and included in the Medline database. The included studies pertain to the effects of CYP gene polymorphisms on antidepressant pharmacokinetic parameters and clinical outcomes (response and drug-related adverse effects), with a focus on applications in clinical practice. The authors focused mainly on in vivo studies in humans (patients or healthy volunteers).

Expert opinion: Great variability in antidepressant metabolism among individuals has been demonstrated. Thus, with the current interest in individualized medicine, several genetic tests to detect CYP variants have been produced. They provide a potentially useful way to anticipate some clinical outcomes of antidepressant treatment, although they will only be extensively used in clinical practice if precise and specific treatment options and guidelines based on genetic tests can be provided.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antidepressive Agents / adverse effects
  • Antidepressive Agents / metabolism*
  • Antidepressive Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / genetics*
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / metabolism
  • Databases, Factual
  • Depression / drug therapy
  • Depression / genetics*
  • Depression / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Polymorphism, Genetic / physiology*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System