Professors Parker and Laizure Receive Grant to Study Drug Interaction

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Robert Parker, PharmD, and S. Casey Laizure, PharmD, professors in the Department of Clinical Pharmacy, have received a grant award of $299,584 from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences to study drug interaction.

Robert Parker, PharmD, and S. Casey Laizure, PharmD, professors in the Department of Clinical Pharmacy, have received a grant award of $299,584 from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, a subsidiary of the National Institutes of Health. The grant will fund their study on drug interaction.

The study, titled “Inhibition of Carboxylesterase Metabolism by Ethanol,” focuses on identifying factors that affect the activity of carboxylesterase enzymes, which are primarily located in the liver and intestine. These enzymes play an important role in the metabolism of many clinically used medications, including agents used to treat cardiovascular disease, cancer and infectious diseases.

In previous laboratory studies, ethanol was identified as a potent inhibitor, suggesting that drugs metabolized by carboxylesterase enzymes might interact with ethanol. Currently, the objective is to move these findings from the laboratory and determine how ethanol affects the activity of carboxylesterase enzymes in humans.

The research of Drs. Parker and Laizure will compare the blood concentrations of two commonly used medications (aspirin and Tamiflu®) that are metabolized by carboxylesterase enzymes when given alone and in combination with ethanol.

“Given the millions of prescriptions for drugs that are metabolized by caboxylesterases and that more than 100 million people in the U.S. consume ethanol, our project may have important implications for the safe and effective use of these drugs in patients,” said Dr. Parker. “We believe this could be a common drug interaction that has been largely overlooked, and only by the systematic study of ethanol interaction in humans can we begin to understand the clinical importance of this interaction. This study is the first step towards understanding this interaction in humans, and will ultimately lead to a better appreciation of the therapeutic implications of consuming ethanol with drugs metabolized by these enzymes.”

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.