Busulfan and metronidazole: an often forgotten but significant drug interaction.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

OBJECTIVE: To report the case of a clinically significant drug interaction between intravenous busulfan and oral metronidazole observed through busulfan therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM). CASE SUMMARY: A 7-year-old boy with a history of myelodysplasia that progressed to acute myeloid leukemia received busulfan with therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM), clofarabine, and thiotepa as a pretransplant conditioning regimen for a cord blood transplant. The patient received metronidazole the day after a busulfan test dose of 0.5 mg/kg was administered. On the day of the first busulfan therapeutic dose, TDM was performed and the clearance of busulfan was significantly decreased by 46%. After 2 doses of busulfan therapy, the course area under the curve was exceeded, requiring discontinuation of busulfan. Metronidazole is not known to affect glutathione or the glutathione S-transferase A1 (GSTA1) enzyme system or cytochrome P450 (CYP) 3A4. DISCUSSION: Busulfan is a bifunctional alkylating agent widely used in pretransplant conditioning regimens in patients undergoing stem cell transplantation for hematologic malignancies. Busulfan metabolism is best described by hepatic conjugation to glutathione by GSTA1, although some CYP-dependent pathways have been described. Currently there is 1 publication describing the drug interaction between oral busulfan and oral metronidazole, in which concomitant use of metronidazole resulted in higher busulfan trough concentrations and higher risk of veno-occlusive disease. Our case represents a possible drug interaction based on the Horn Drug Interaction Probability Scale. CONCLUSIONS: Though the mechanistic basis for this interaction is unknown, the risks and benefits of using metronidazole during and in close proximity to busulfan should be carefully considered and therapeutic alternatives to metronidazole should be used when appropriate.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Gulbis, AM; Culotta, KS; Jones, RB; Andersson, BS

Published Date

  • July 2011

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 45 / 7-8

Start / End Page

  • e39 -

PubMed ID

  • 21730282

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1542-6270

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1345/aph.1Q087


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States