Aims: To examine whether initiation of fibrates or statins in sulfonylurea users is associated with hypoglycaemia, and examine in vitro inhibition of cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes by statins, fenofibrate and glipizide.
Methods: We used healthcare data to conduct nested case-control studies of serious hypoglycaemia (i.e. resulting in hospital admission or emergency department treatment) in persons taking glipizide or glyburide, and calculated adjusted overall and time-stratified odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). We also characterized the in vitro inhibition of CYP enzymes by statins, fenofibrate and glipizide using fluorometric CYP450 inhibition assays, and estimated area under the concentration-time curve ratios (AUCRs) for the drug pairs.
Results: We found elevated adjusted overall ORs for glyburide-fenofibrate (OR 1.84, 95% CI 1.37, 2.47) and glyburide-gemfibrozil (OR 1.57, 95% CI 1.25, 1.96). The apparent risk did decline over time as might be expected from a pharmacokinetic mechanism. Fenofibrate was a potent in vitro inhibitor of CYP2C19 (IC50 = 0.2 μm) and CYP2B6 (IC50 = 0.7 μm) and a moderate inhibitor of CYP2C9 (IC50 = 9.7 μm). The predicted CYP-based AUCRs for fenofibrate-glyburide and gemfibrozil-glyburide interactions were only 1.09 and 1.04, suggesting that CYP inhibition is unlikely to explain such an interaction.
Conclusions: Use of fenofibrate or gemfibrozil together with glyburide was associated with elevated overall risks of serious hypoglycaemia. CYP inhibition seems unlikely to explain this observation. We speculate that a pharmacodynamic effect of fibrates (e.g. activate peroxisome proliferator-activator receptor alpha) may contribute to these apparent interactions.
Keywords: cytochrome P-450 enzyme; drug-drug interactions; fibric acids; hypoglycaemia; statins; sulfonylurea compounds.
© 2014 The British Pharmacological Society.