Doxepin-cimetidine interaction: increased doxepin bioavailability during cimetidine treatment

J Clin Psychopharmacol. 1986 Feb;6(1):8-12.


The influence of concurrent cimetidine administration on the disposition of doxepin was evaluated in 10 healthy volunteers. Each subject ingested 100 mg of doxepin on two different occasions, once while otherwise drug free and once while receiving cimetidine, 300 mg every 6 hours. Doxepin absorptive parameters--time to peak doxepin plasma concentration (2.3, control, vs. 2.4 hours during cimetidine co-administration) and peak concentration achieved (43.3. vs. 55.5 ng/ml)--were not changed during cimetidine administration. Likewise, doxepin elimination half-life was similar in the control state (12.5 hours) and during cimetidine administration (13.2 hours). However, doxepin area under the plasma concentration-time curve (AUC) was increased during concurrent cimetidine administration (533 vs. 695 ng/ml . hour; p less than 0.05), resulting in a trend toward decreased doxepin oral clearance (4404 vs. 3278 ml/min; 0.05 less than p less than 0.1). Relative bioavailability during concurrent cimetidine treatment was 123% of that during the control trial. Desmethyldoxepin AUC was no different between trials (478, control, vs. 433 ng/ml . hour during cimetidine ingestion). Plasma protein binding of doxepin was similar between trials (percent unbound; 10.5, control, vs. 11.2%) and therefore did not influence calculated AUC. These data indicate that doxepin relative bioavailability is increased during concurrent cimetidine administration and suggest that doxepin hepatic extraction is impaired by cimetidine after oral administration. During chronic doxepin therapy, addition of cimetidine to a therapeutic regimen may result in increased doxepin plasma concentration.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Absorption
  • Adult
  • Biological Availability
  • Cimetidine / metabolism*
  • Doxepin / administration & dosage
  • Doxepin / analogs & derivatives
  • Doxepin / metabolism*
  • Drug Interactions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Random Allocation
  • Time Factors


  • Doxepin
  • Cimetidine
  • desmethyldoxepin