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Volume 2 (2002), Pages 751-766
Mini-Review Article

Can Drug–Drug Interactions Be Predicted from In Vitro Studies?

Advanced Technology Corporation, Institute of Pathology, B23, University of LIEGE, B-4000 SART TILMAN, Belgium

Received 23 November 2001; Revised 22 January 2002; Accepted 23 January 2002

Copyright © 2002 Pierre Kremers.


Potential drug–drug interactions as well as drug–xenobiotic interactions are a major source of clinical problems, sometimes with dramatic consequences. Investigation of drug–drug interactions during drug development is a major concern for the drug companies while developing new drugs.

Our knowledge of the drug-metabolising enzymes, their mechanism of action, and their regulation has made considerable progress during the last decades. Various efficient in vitro approaches have been developed during recent years and powerful computer-based data handling is becoming widely available. All these tools allow us to initiate, early in the development of new chemical entities, large-scale studies on the interactions of drugs with selective cytochrome P-450 (CYP) isozymes, drug receptors, and other cellular entities. Standardisation and validation of these methodological approaches significantly improve the quality of the data generated and the reliability of their interpretation.

The simplicity and the low costs associated with the use of in vitro techniques have made them a method of choice to investigate drug–drug interactions. Promising successes have been achieved in the extrapolation of in vitro data to the in vivo situation and in the prediction of drug–drug interaction. Nevertheless, linking in vitro and in vivo studies still remains fraught with difficulties and should be made with great caution.