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Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy

Comparison of the effects of the new azalide antibiotic, azithromycin, and erythromycin estolate on rat liver cytochrome P-450.


PMID 1656856

Abstract

Erythromycin and some other macrolide antibiotics can first induce a cytochrome P-450 isozyme similar to the one induced in rats by pregnenolone-16 alpha-carbonitrile and then inhibit it by forming a stable cytochrome P-450-metabolite complex. The purpose of this study was to compare azithromycin, a novel 15-membered ring azalide, and erythromycin estolate for the potential to cause hepatic microsomal enzyme induction and inhibition in Sprague-Dawley rats. The daily oral administration of 800 mg of erythromycin estolate per kg for 7 days resulted in statistically significant elevations of NADPH-cytochrome c reductase, erythromycin N-demethylase (3.2-fold), and total cytochrome P-450 content. Approximately 40% of cytochrome P-450 was complexed with erythromycin metabolite. In contrast, the daily administration of 200 mg of azithromycin per kg for 7 days caused significant elevations of N-demethylase (2.5-fold) only and did not produce any increases in total cytochrome P-450 content or NADPH-cytochrome c reductase. No complexed cytochrome P-450 was detected in the azithromycin-dosed rats despite liver concentrations of azithromycin that were 118 times greater than the liver concentrations of erythromycin estolate in erythromycin estolate-dosed rats. Although the short-term oral administration of azithromycin produced hepatic accumulation of the drug and elevated azithromycin demethylase activity, there was no other evidence of hepatic cytochrome P-450 induction or inactivation via cytochrome-metabolite complex formation. In contrast to erythromycin estolate, azithromycin is not expected to inhibit its own metabolism or that of other drugs via this pathway.