Background: Oxycodone is metabolized in the liver by means of O-demethylation to form oxymorphone in a reaction catalyzed by the enzyme cytochrome P450 2D6 (CYP2D6). This enzyme is expressed as 2 phenotypes (extensive and poor metabolizers). Several drugs are metabolized by CYP2D6, and clinically relevant drug interactions may occur. The aim of this study was to evaluate the role of oxymorphone in mediating the opioid effects of oxycodone by means of blocking CYP2D6 with quinidine.
Methods: Ten healthy extensive metabolizers were administered 20 mg controlled-release oxycodone after premedication with placebo or 200 mg quinidine in this randomized, double-blind crossover study. A dose of 100 mg quinidine was administered 6 hours later. Plasma opioid concentrations, subjective pharmacodynamic ratings, and psychomotor function were assessed for 24 hours after drug administration.
Results: No oxymorphone was detected at any time after quinidine premedication in 8 of 10 subjects. Plasma oxycodone (difference not significant) and noroxycodone (P < .01) concentrations were greater after quinidine pretreatment. Prevention of the production of oxymorphone by quinidine did not affect the psychomotor or subjective drug effects of oxycodone. No difference in number of adverse effects was observed after the 2 pretreatments.
Conclusions: A significant reduction in plasma oxymorphone levels did not substantially alter the pharmacodynamic effects of oxycodone. Analgesia was not evaluated because pain was not present.