Several opioids are metabolized by the inducible cytochrome P450 (CYP) 3A isozymes. Coadministration with strong inducers of drug metabolism, such as rifampin, can dramatically reduce systemic exposure to these opioids. As the CYP metabolism of hydromorphone is of minor importance, we studied in healthy volunteers whether hydromorphone would be an effective analgesic for patients who concomitantly receive the prototypical enzyme inducer rifampin.
In this paired, randomized, crossover study, 12 participants received oral placebo or rifampin for 8 days. Oral hydromorphone (2.6 mg) was administered on day 6 followed by intravenous hydromorphone (0.02 mg/kg) on day 8. Hydromorphone and hydromorphone-3-glucuronide (HM3G) plasma concentrations were measured for 24 hours and psychomotor responses, including perceived drug effect, change in pupil diameter, and cold pressor threshold were evaluated for 6 hours. Our primary outcome was the change in the area under the concentration–time curve (AUC0–last) of oral and intravenous hydromorphone after pretreatment with rifampin or placebo. Pharmacodynamic parameters and other pharmacokinetic parameters were analyzed as secondary outcomes.
Rifampin reduced the AUC0–last of oral and intravenous hydromorphone by 43% (ratio to control: 0.57, 90% confidence interval [CI], 0.50-0.65) and 26% (ratio to control: 0.74, 90% CI, 0.69-0.79), respectively. The maximum concentration of oral hydromorphone was reduced by 37% (ratio to control: 0.63, 90% CI, 0.55-0.72), and oral bioavailability decreased from 33% to 26% (ratio to control: 0.78, 90% CI, 0.67-0.91) in the rifampin phase compared with placebo. The HM3G-to-hydromorphone ratio increased by 50% (90% CI, 25-79) and 42% (90% CI, 29-55) after oral and intravenous hydromorphone, respectively. Rifampin did not significantly affect the pharmacodynamic parameters.
Rifampin significantly reduces the concentrations of oral and intravenous hydromorphone. This interaction is due to an increase in the first-pass and systemic metabolism of hydromorphone, likely involving induction of uridine 5′-diphospho- glucuronosyltransferase enzymes by rifampin. The enhancement of hydromorphone elimination should be considered when managing pain of patients who are treated with strong enzyme inducers.