Effect of ketoconazole on hepatic oxidative drug metabolism

Michael W. Brown, Alma L. Maldonado, Christopher G. Meredith, K. V. Speeg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Several clinical reports have suggested (but not demonstrated) that ketoconazole, a broad-spectrum antifungal,drug, may inhibit hepatic oxidative drug metabolism in man. We recently demonstrated that ketoconazole inhibits caffeine and aminopyrine oxidation in the rat; we now study the influence of ketoconazole on theophylline and chlordiazepoxide kinetics in man. These studies were performed before and after varying doses of ketoconazole within the currently accepted therapeutic range. Ketoconazole had no effect on theophylline clearance, whereas the drug impaired chlordiazepoxide clearance from plasma. After a single dose of ketoconazole, there was a 20% decrease in clearance and a 26% decrease in volume of distribution without evidence of inhibition of drug metabolism. These changes apparently were not related to ketoconazole dose. After repetitive dosing with ketoconazole, chlordiazepoxide clearance decreased by 38% and was associated with reduced concentrations of its first oxidative metabolite, N-desmethylchlordiazepoxide. We conclude that ketoconazole inhibits at least one subset of the hepatic mixed-function oxidase system, but is not as general an inhibitor of hepatic oxidative drug metabolism as cimetidine appears to be. For some coadministered drugs, ketoconazole may also have an effect on other kinetic parameters such as volume of distribution. Therefore, we caution that clinically important drug interactions may occur with the concurrent use of ketoconazole.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)290-297
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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