Biological & pharmaceutical bulletin

Carboxylesterase 1-mediated drug-drug interactions between clopidogrel and simvastatin.

PMID 25747989


Patients with coronary artery disease often receive concurrent treatment with clopidogrel and a hydroxymethylglutaryl (HMG)-CoA reductase inhibitor medication. Accordingly, potential drug-drug interactions associated with the concomitant use of these agents present an area of concern. Both CYP enzymes and carboxylesterase 1 (CES1) are involved in the metabolism of clopidogrel, while CES1 is believed to be the enzyme responsible for the activation of simvastatin. Some in vitro studies have suggested that simvastatin could attenuate clopidogrel activation via inhibiting CYP3A activity. However, these findings have not found support in several recently published clinical investigations. The present study addresses these inconsistencies by exploring the potential role of CES1 in the metabolism of clopidogrel and simvastatin. Our in vitro human liver s9 fraction incubation study demonstrated that simvastatin significantly enhanced the formation of the intermediate metabolite 2-oxo-clopidogrel, and inhibited the CES1-mediated hydrolysis of clopidogrel, 2-oxo-clopidogrel, and the active metabolite. However, the production of the active metabolite remained unchanged. Conversely, clopidogrel was not found to influence the CES1 mediated hydrolysis (activation) of simvastatin. Moreover, we provided evidence that CES1 is not an efficient enzyme for catalyzing simvastatin activation. In summary, the inhibitory effect of simvastatin on the hydrolysis of clopidogrel and its principal metabolites may have offset the influence of simvastatin-mediated inhibition of CYP3A, and permitted the unaltered formation of the clopidogrel active metabolite. These data help explain the conflicting accounts in previous reports regarding clopidogrel and simvastatin interactions by taking into consideration CES1; they suggest that the interactions are unlikely to significantly influence clinical outcomes.