Inhibition of human cytochrome P450 2D6 (CYP2D6) by methadone

Br J Clin Pharmacol. 1993 Jan;35(1):30-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2125.1993.tb05666.x.


1. In microsomes prepared from three human livers, methadone competitively inhibited the O-demethylation of dextromethorphan, a marker substrate for CYP2D6. The apparent Ki value of methadone ranged from 2.5 to 5 microM. 2. Two hundred and fifty-two (252) white Caucasians, including 210 unrelated healthy volunteers and 42 opiate abusers undergoing treatment with methadone were phenotyped using dextromethorphan as the marker drug. Although the frequency of poor metabolizers was similar in both groups, the extensive metabolizers among the opiate abusers tended to have higher O-demethylation metabolic ratios and to excrete less of the dose as dextromethorphan metabolites than control extensive metabolizer subjects. These data suggest inhibition of CYP2D6 by methadone in vivo as well. 3. Because methadone is widely used in the treatment of opiate abuse, inhibition of CYP2D6 activity in these patients might contribute to exaggerated response or unexpected toxicity from drugs that are substrates of this enzyme.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2D6
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme Inhibitors*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methadone / metabolism
  • Methadone / pharmacology*
  • Microsomes, Liver / enzymology
  • Middle Aged
  • Mixed Function Oxygenases / antagonists & inhibitors*


  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Mixed Function Oxygenases
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2D6
  • Methadone