Drug metabolism in liver disease. Identification of patients with impaired hepatic drug metabolism

G. C. Farrell, W. G.E. Cooksley, P. Hart, L. W. Powell

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55 Citations (Scopus)


Antipyrine half-life (AP t1/2) was measured in 62 patients with, and 10 control patients without, liver disease to ascertain possible factors which may be useful in identifying patients with abnormal drug metabolism. Antipyrine metabolism was normal or marginally impaired in patients with compensated cirrhosis or acute hepatitis, whereas it was frequently abnormal in those with chronic active hepatitis or advanced alcoholic liver disease. A high degree of correlation was found among AP t1/2 and prothrombin time, hepatic encephalopathy, and ascites. Of patients with severely impaired drug metabolism, 80% had one or more of these features. The severity of histological changes in liver biopsies was of additional help in predicting impaired drug metabolism. Concurrent drug ingestion enhanced antipyrine metabolism in most patients with liver disease as well as in control patients. Inadequate diet was associated with prolongation of AP t1/2, but other environmental factors such as alcohol ingestion, cigarette smoking, and coffee consumption did not affect rates of drug metabolism in patients with liver disease. Consideration of all of the above factors allows qualitative predictions of the rate of hepatic drug metabolism in patients with liver disease, as assessed by the AP t1/2.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)580-588
Number of pages9
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 1978
Externally publishedYes


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