CYP2D6 polymorphism is not crucial for the disposition of selegiline

Clin Pharmacol Ther. 1998 Oct;64(4):402-11. doi: 10.1016/S0009-9236(98)90071-6.


Objective: To determine the possible impact of CYP2D6 polymorphism on the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of selegiline.

Methods: Five poor metabolizers and 8 extensive metabolizers of debrisoquin (INN, debrisoquine) were given 10 mg selegiline hydrochloride. The concentrations of selegiline and its main metabolites in serum were determined for 4 days. The pharmacodynamics were quantitated by measuring platelet monoamine oxidase type B activity for 3 weeks. In addition, the effect of selegiline and its main metabolites on the CYP2D6-catalyzed dextromethorphan O-demethylase activity and the effect of quinidine on the metabolism of selegiline were studied in human liver microsomes.

Results: Peak serum concentrations of selegiline were reached rapidly and ranged from 1 to 32 nmol/L. The metabolite concentrations were considerably higher and remained so for a longer period. There were no significant differences in the pharmacokinetic parameters of selegiline, desmethylselegiline, and l-amphetamine between poor metabolizers and extensive metabolizers. However, the area under the serum concentration-time curve (AUC) values of l-methamphetamine were, on average, 46% higher (P = .01) in poor metabolizers than in extensive metabolizers. No significant correlations were found between debrisoquin metabolic ratio and AUC values of selegiline or its metabolites, except for l-methamphetamine (rs = 0.90; P < .001). The maximum monoamine oxidase type B inhibition was 97% in both groups. The inhibitory potency of selegiline, desmethylselegiline, and l-methamphetamine toward dextromethorphan O-demethylase was very low (50% inhibitory concentration values from 160 to 580 mumol/L). Quinidine (< or = 100 mumol/L) did not inhibit the formation of desmethylselegiline or l-methamphetamine from selegiline.

Conclusions: CYP2D6 is not important in the primary elimination of selegiline, and the biological effect of selegiline seems to be similar in poor metabolizers and extensive metabolizers of debrisoquin. The inhibitory effect of selegiline and its main metabolites on CYP2D6 activity seems to be negligible.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Adult
  • Amphetamines / pharmacokinetics
  • Area Under Curve
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2D6 / genetics*
  • Debrisoquin / pharmacokinetics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Male
  • Methamphetamine / pharmacokinetics
  • Microsomes, Liver / metabolism
  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors / blood
  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors / pharmacokinetics*
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Reference Values
  • Selegiline / blood
  • Selegiline / pharmacokinetics*


  • Adrenergic Agents
  • Amphetamines
  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors
  • Selegiline
  • Methamphetamine
  • desmethylselegiline
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2D6
  • Debrisoquin