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Papers of the Week

Papers: 2 Sep 2023 - 8 Sep 2023


Pharmacology/Drug Development

2023 Sep 07

J Pharmacol Exp Ther


Hydrocodone, oxycodone, and morphine metabolism and drug-drug interactions.


Coates S, Lazarus P


Awareness of drug interactions involving opioids is critical for patient treatment as they are common therapeutics used in numerous care settings including both chronic and disease related pain. Not only do opioids have narrow therapeutic indexes and are extensively used, but they have the potential to cause severe toxicity. Opioids are the classical pain treatment for patients who suffer from moderate to severe pain. More importantly, opioids are often prescribed in combination with multiple other drugs, especially in patient populations who typically are prescribed a large drug regimen. This review focuses on the current knowledge of common opioid drug-drug interactions (DDI), focusing specifically on hydrocodone, oxycodone, and morphine DDI. The DDI covered in this review include pharmacokinetic DDI arising from enzyme inhibition or induction, primarily due to inhibition of cytochrome p450 enzymes (CYPs). However, opioids such as morphine are metabolized by uridine-5′-diphosphoglucuronosyltransferases (UGTs), principally UGT2B7, and this is another important pathway for opioid-drug interactions. This review also covers several pharmacodynamic DDI studies as well as the basics of CYP and UGT metabolism including detailed opioid metabolism and the potential involvement of metabolizing enzyme gene variation in DDI. Based upon the current literature, further care is needed to fully investigate and describe the DDI potential with opioids in pain and related disease settings to improve clinical outcomes for patients. A review of the literature focusing on drug-drug interactions involving opioids is important because they can be toxic and potentially lethal, occurring through pharmacodynamic interactions as well as pharmacokinetic interactions occurring through inhibition or induction of drug metabolism.