Delgoda, Rupika; Westlake, Andrew C.
Author Affiliation, Ana.
Natural Products Institute; Faculty of Pure and Applied Sciences
Herbal interactions involving cytochrome P450 enzymes: A mini review
Date of Publication
The metabolism of a drug can be altered by another drug or foreign chemical, and such interactions can often be clinically significant. Cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes, a superfamily of enzymes found mainly in the liver, are involved in the metabolism of a plethora of xenobiotics and have been shown to be involved in numerous interactions between drugs and food, herbs and other drugs. The observed induction and inhibition of CYP enzymes by natural products in the presence of a prescribed drug has (among other reasons) led to the general acceptance that natural therapies can have adverse effects, contrary to the popular beliefs in countries where there is an active practice of ethnomedicine. Herbal medicines such as St. John's wort, garlic, piperine, ginseng, and gingko, which are freely available over the counter, have given rise to serious clinical interactions when co-administered with prescription medicines. Such adversities have spurred various pre-clinical and in vitro investigations on a series of other herbal remedies, with their clinical relevance remaining to be established. Although the presence of numerous active ingredients in herbal medicines, foods and dietary supplements complicate experimentation, the observable interactions with CYP enzymes warrant systematic studies, so that metabolism-based interactions can be predicted and avoided more readily. This article highlights the involvement of CYP enzymes in metabolism-related drug-herb interactions and the importance of gaining a mechanism-based understanding to avoid potential adverse drug reactions, in addition to outlining other contributory factors, such as pharmacogenetics and recreational habits that may compound this important health issue.....