Toxicology and Metabolic Interactions

Research group

Toxicology and Metabolic Interactions

The research group is focusing on the metabolic interactions that can arise when herbs and drugs are used simultaneously.

Petri dish and hand with plastic glove. Photo.Metabolic interactions occur when herbs influence a family of drug metabolizing enzymes called Cytochrome P450 (CYP enzymes). If the CYP enzymes, which are predominantly found in small intestines and liver, are affected, this can cause a change in a medicine's kinetics and clinical effect. This may lead to accumulation of drugs, which in turn can lead to serious side effects, or you can get an increased excretion of drugs, which in turn can lead to sub therapeutic plasma concentrations and treatment failure. The group has a wide spectre of methods for investigating such drug-herb interactions, spanning from the use of isolated enzymes to clinical human experiments.

Important for the patients safety

A herb can influence on a medicinal drug's uptake and metabolism in the body in a way that can be detrimental for patients, either by lowering the concentration of drug in blood under the therapeutic range (the drug don't work), or by increasing the concentration, with unwanted side effects/toxic effects as a result. It is a fact that many people, also patients that take medicines at regular basis, also eat herbs and/or dietary supplements in addition to the ordinary medicinal treatment, in some patient groups as many as 50% of the patients. It is therefore important to identify possible harmful drug-herb combinations, so that they can be avoided, in order to ensure patient safety.

Different methods

To evaluate possible effects on CYP enzymes, drugs and their metabolites are analyzed by validated HPLC, GC-MS or LC-MS/MS methodology before and after exposure to herbs. The research group has developed skill and expertise in setting up bioanalytical methods for analysing drugs and metabolites from biological materials.

25 Mar 2021