DG Journal Club
Paediatr Anaesth. 2022 Jul 17
The protease inhibitor, ritonavir, is a strong inhibitor of CYP 3A. The drug is used for management of the human immunovirus and is currently part of an oral antiviral drug combination (nirmatrelvir-ritonavir) for the early treatment of SARS-2 COVID-19-positive patients aged 12 years and over who have recognized comorbidities. The CYP 3A enzyme system is responsible for clearance of numerous drugs used in anesthesia (e.g., alfentanil, fentanyl, methadone, rocuronium, bupivacaine, midazolam, ketamine). Ritonavir will have an impact on drug clearances that are dependent on ritonavir concentration, anesthesia drug intrinsic hepatic clearance, metabolic pathways, concentration-response relationship, and route of administration. Drugs with a steep concentration-response relationship (ketamine, midazolam, rocuronium) are mostly affected because small changes in concentration have major changes in effect response. An increase in midazolam concentration is observed after oral administration because CYP 3A in the gastrointestinal wall is inhibited, causing a large increase in relative bioavailability. Fentanyl infusion may be associated with a modest increase in plasma concentration and effect, but the large between subject variability of pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic concentration changes suggests it will have little impact on an individual patient, especially when used with adverse effect monitoring. It has been proposed that drugs that have no or only a small metabolic pathway involving the CYP 3A enzyme be used during anesthesia, for example, propofol, atracurium, remifentanil, and the volatile agents. That anesthesia approach denies children of drugs with considerable value. It is better that the inhibitory changes in clearance of these drugs are understood so that rational drug choices can be made to tailor drug use to the individual patient. Altered drug dose, anticipation of duration of effect, timing of administration, use of reversal agents and perioperative monitoring would better behoove children undergoing anesthesia.