Papers And Originals

Changes in Human Drug Metabolism after Long-term Exposure to Hypnotics

Br Med J 1972; 4 doi: (Published 11 November 1972) Cite this as: Br Med J 1972;4:322
  1. I. H. Stevenson,
  2. Margaret Browning,
  3. J. Crooks,
  4. K. O'Malley


    The influence of the newer, non-barbiturate hypnotics Mandrax (diphenhydramine-methaqualone) and nitrazepam on drug-metabolizing capacity was assessed and compared with the effect of amylobarbitone, a known inducer of drug-metabolizing enzymes. Plasma antipyrine and phenylbutazone half-lives and urinary output of 6β-hydroxycortisol were used as indices. Volunteer subjects were exposed to therapeutic amounts of these agents and, in the case of Mandrax and barbiturates, further studies were carried out in dependent patients.

    Mandrax but not nitrazepam increased the rate of drug metabolism, presumably by enzyme induction. The degree of induction was comparable with that produced by hypnotic doses of amylobarbitone. The Mandrax-dependent and barbiturate-dependent patients were the fastest metabolizers studied. It is concluded that drug interactions resulting from interference with drug metabolism are as likely to occur with Mandrax as with barbiturates. On the other hand, it is unlikely that such drug interactions would occur with nitrazepam.