Drugs & aging

Nimodipine. Potential for drug-drug interactions in the elderly.

PMID 7620235


Nimodipine is indicated for a variety of conditions in elderly patients. Elderly patients often have multiple morbidity and receive treatment with a variety of drugs. Therefore, it is important to investigate the possible pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic interactions of nimodipine with various drugs commonly prescribed for elderly patients. There were no clinically relevant interactions of nimodipine with any of the following specific agents studied: the antiarrhythmics mexiletine, propafenone, disopyramide or quinidine, digoxin, the beta-adrenoceptor antagonists propranolol or atenolol, nifedipine, warfarin, diazepam, indomethacin, ranitidine or glibenclamide (glyburide). However, there were some notable interactions. In epileptic patients taking the anticonvulsants carbamazepine, phenobarbital (phenobarbitone) and/or phenytoin, there was a 7-fold decrease in the area under the plasma concentration versus time curve (AUC) and an 8- to 10-fold decrease in the maximum plasma concentration of nimodipine. These effects were to be expected, considering the hepatic enzyme-inducing properties of these anticonvulsant drugs. Therefore concomitant use of these agents with oral nimodipine is not recommended. In contrast, epileptic patients treated with nimodipine and valproic acid (sodium valproate) showed an increase in both the AUC (approximately 50%) and maximum plasma concentrations (approximately 30%) of nimodipine, which may be explained by valproic acid inhibiting the presystemic oxidative metabolism of nimodipine. Concomitant administration of cimetidine produced an approximate doubling of the bioavailability of nimodipine. This again was to be expected, considering the known inhibitory effect of cimetidine on cytochrome P450. However, no changes in haemodynamics, clinical or laboratory status or tolerability were observed, and dose adjustment did not appear to be clinically necessary.