Differential induction of prehepatic and hepatic metabolism of verapamil by rifampin

Hepatology. 1996 Oct;24(4):796-801. doi: 10.1002/hep.510240407.


Cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes, which metabolize numerous drugs, are expressed both in liver and in extrahepatic tissues. CYP3A4 for example is present and inducible by rifampin in epithelial cells of the gastrointestinal tract. It has been shown that such prehepatic metabolism contributes substantially to total clearance of CYP3A4 substrates (e.g., cyclosporine) before and even more pronounced during enzyme induction. We examined the effect of enzyme induction on prehepatic and hepatic metabolism of the model compound R/S-verapamil after simultaneous oral and intravenous administration using a stable isotope technology. This approach allows us to exclude intraindividual day-to-day variability and is therefore suitable to quantitatively assess prehepatic extraction of high-clearance drugs. Moreover, because verapamil is administered as a race-mate with the S-enantiomer being preferentially metabolized, we investigated the influence of induction on stereoselectivity of prehepatic and hepatic metabolism. Eight male volunteers received 120 mg of racemic verapamil bid for 24 days. Rifampin (600 mg daily) was given from day 5 to day 16. Systemic clearance and bioavailability of the verapamil enantiomers were determined by coadministering deuterated verapamil intravenously on day 4, on day 16, and on day 24. Effects of verapamil on atrioventricular conduction after oral and intravenous (iv) administration were assessed by measuring the maximum PR-interval prolongation Rifampin increased the systemic clearance of the active S-verapamil 1.3-fold (P < .001). In contrast, rifampin increased the apparent oral clearance of S-verapamil 32-fold (P < .001) and decreased its bioavailability 25-fold (P < .001), with partial recovery after rifampin withdrawal (P < .01). With rifampin, the effect of oral verapamil on atrioventricular conduction was nearly abolished (P < .01), whereas no significant changes were observed after intravenous administration. Induction caused a considerable reduction of stereoselectivity after both intravenous and oral administration (P < .001). Rifampin altered the pharmacokinetics and the pharmacological effects of verapamil to a much greater extent after oral administration compared with intravenous administration. These data clearly indicate that prehepatic metabolism of verapamil (presumably in the gut wall) is preferentially induced compared with hepatic metabolism and that stereoselectivity of verapamil metabolism is affected by induction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Biological Availability
  • Digestive System / metabolism*
  • Drug Interactions
  • Enzyme Induction
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Rifampin / pharmacology*
  • Stereoisomerism
  • Verapamil / administration & dosage
  • Verapamil / blood
  • Verapamil / metabolism*
  • Verapamil / pharmacology


  • Verapamil
  • Rifampin