A furanocoumarin-free grapefruit juice establishes furanocoumarins as the mediators of the grapefruit juice-felodipine interaction
Grapefruit juice (GFJ) enhances the systemic exposure of numerous CYP3A4 drug substrates, including felodipine, by inhibiting intestinal (but not hepatic) first-pass metabolism. Furanocoumarins have been identified as major CYP3A4 inhibitors contained in the juice, but their contribution to the GFJ effect in vivo remains unclear. OBJECTIVE: To ascertain whether furanocoumarins mediate the GFJ-felodipine interaction, a furanocoumarin-free GFJ was created and tested against orange juice and the original GFJ with respect to the oral pharmacokinetics of felodipine. DESIGN: With the use of food-grade solvents and absorption resins, furanocoumarins were removed (approximately 99%) from whole GFJ, whereas other major ingredients (flavonoids) were retained. In an open, 3-way, randomized crossover design, 18 healthy volunteers ingested felodipine (10 mg) with 1 of the 3 juices (240 mL). Blood was collected over 24 h. At least 1 wk elapsed between juice treatments. RESULTS: The median and range of the area under the curve and the maximum concentration of felodipine were significantly (P < 0.001) greater with consumption of GFJ [110 (range: 58-270) nmol . h/L and 21 (7.6-50) nmol/L, respectively] than with that of orange juice [54 (29-150) nmol . h/L and 7.6 (3.4-13.9) nmol/L, respectively] or furanocoumarin-free GFJ [48 (23-120) nmol . h/L and 8.3 (3.0-16.6) nmol/L, respectively]. GFJ, orange juice, and furanocoumarin-free GFJ did not differ significantly (P > 0.09) in median time to reach maximum plasma concentration [2.5 (1.5-6), 2.8 (1.5-4), and 2.5 (2-6) h, respectively] or terminal half-life [6.6 (4.2-13.6), 7.8 (4.4-13.2), and 6.8 (2.6-14.4) h, respectively]. CONCLUSION: Furanocoumarins are the active ingredients in GFJ responsible for enhancing the systemic exposure of felodipine and probably other CYP3A4 substrates that undergo extensive intestinal first-pass metabolism.