Grapefruit juice and its constituents augment colchicine intestinal absorption: Potential hazardous interaction and the role of P-glycoprotein

Arik Dahan, Gordon L. Amidon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


Purpose: To investigate the potential interaction between grapefruit juice (GFJ) and the oral microtubule polymerization inhibitor colchicine, a P-gp and CYP3A4 substrate. Methods: Colchicine intestinal epithelial transport was investigated across Caco-2 cell monolayers in both AP-BL and BL-AP directions, in the absence/presence of known P-gp inhibitors (verapamil and quinidine). The concentration-dependent effects of GFJ and its major constituents (6'-7'-dihydroxybergamottin, naringin and naringenin) on colchicine Caco-2 mucosal secretion were examined. The effect of GFJ on colchicine intestinal-permeability was then investigated in-situ in the rat perfusion model, in both jejunum and ileum. Results: Colchicine exhibited 20-fold higher BL-AP than AP-BL Caco-2 permeability, indicative of net mucosal secretion, which was reduced by verapamil/quinidine. Colchicine AP-BL permeability was increased and BL-AP was decreased by GFJ in a concentration-dependent manner (IC 50 values of 0.75% and 0.46% respectively), suggesting inhibition of efflux transport, rather than metabolizing enzyme. Similar effects obtained following pre-experiment incubation with GFJ, even though the juice was not present throughout the transepithelial study. 6'-7'-Dihydroxybergamottin, naringin and naringenin displayed concentration-dependent inhibition on colchicine BL-AP secretion (IC50 values of 90, 592 and 11.6 μM respectively). Ten percent GFJ doubled colchicine rat in-situ ileal permeability, and increased 1.5-fold jejunal permeability. Conclusion: The data suggest that GFJ may augment colchicine oral bioavailability. Due to colchicine narrow therapeutic-index and severely toxic side-effects, awareness of this interaction is prudent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)883-892
Number of pages10
JournalPharmaceutical Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Colchicine
  • Drug interaction
  • Grapefruit juice
  • Intestinal permeability
  • P-glycoprotein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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