Transporters and drug-drug interactions: important determinants of drug disposition and effects

Pharmacol Rev. 2013 May 17;65(3):944-66. doi: 10.1124/pr.113.007518. Print 2013 Jul.


Uptake and efflux transporters determine plasma and tissue concentrations of a broad variety of drugs. They are localized in organs such as small intestine, liver, and kidney, which are critical for drug absorption and elimination. Moreover, they can be found in important blood-tissue barriers such as the blood-brain barrier. Inhibition or induction of drug transporters by coadministered drugs can alter pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of the victim drugs. This review will summarize in particular clinically observed drug-drug interactions attributable to inhibition or induction of intestinal export transporters [P-glycoprotein (P-gp), breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP)], to inhibition of hepatic uptake transporters [organic anion transporting polypeptides (OATPs)], or to inhibition of transporter-mediated [organic anion transporters (OATs), organic cation transporter 2 (OCT2), multidrug and toxin extrusion proteins (MATEs), P-gp] renal secretion of xenobiotics. Available data on the impact of nutrition on transport processes as well as genotype-dependent, transporter-mediated drug-drug interactions will be discussed. We will also present and discuss data on the variable extent to which information on the impact of transporters on drug disposition is included in summaries of product characteristics of selected countries (SPCs). Further work is required regarding a better understanding of the role of the drug metabolism-drug transport interplay for drug-drug interactions and on the extrapolation of in vitro findings to the in vivo (human) situation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Absorption
  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • Drug Interactions
  • Food-Drug Interactions
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Membrane Transport Modulators / metabolism
  • Membrane Transport Modulators / pharmacology*
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / drug effects*
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / genetics
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / metabolism
  • Permeability
  • Phenotype


  • Membrane Transport Modulators
  • Membrane Transport Proteins