Proximal Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass Alters Drug Absorption Pattern But Not Systemic Exposure of CYP3A4 and P-glycoprotein Substrates

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Study Objectives

To evaluate the effect of Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery (RYGB) on the pharmacokinetics of midazolam (a CYP3A4 substrate) and digoxin (a P-glycoprotein substrate).


Prospective, nonblinded, longitudinal, single-dose pharmacokinetic study in three phases: presurgery baseline and postoperative assessments at 3 and 12 months.


Twelve obese patients meeting current standards for bariatric surgery.

Measurements and Main Results

At each study visit, patients received a single dose of oral digoxin and midazolam at 8 A.M. Blood samples were collected at regular intervals for 24 hours after dosing. Continuous 12-lead electrocardiogram (EKG), heart rate, blood pressure, and respiratory rate were monitored, and pharmacokinetic parameters from the three visits were compared. The peak plasma concentration (Cmax) of midazolam increased by 66% and 71% at 3- and 12-month post-RYGB (p=0.017 and p=0.001, respectively), whereas the median time to peak concentration (Tmax) was reduced by 50%. The mean Cmax for 1′-hydroxymidazolam increased by 87% and 80% at 3 and 12 months (p=0.001 and p<0.001, respectively). However, neither the area under the concentration-time curve (AUC) for midazolam nor the metabolite-to-parent AUC ratio changed significantly over time. For digoxin, the median Tmax decreased from 40 minutes at baseline to 30 and 20 minutes at 3 and 12 months, respectively. The mean AUC for digoxin, heart rate, and EKG patterns were similar across the three study phases.


Contemporary proximal RYGB increases the rate of drug absorption without significantly changing the overall exposure to midazolam and digoxin. The Cmax of a CYP3A4 substrate with a high extraction ratio was substantially increased after RYGB.

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