Genetic polymorphisms of cytochrome P450 2D6 (CYP2D6) are associated with long term tramadol treatment-induced oxidative damage and hepatotoxicity

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Our objective was to figure out whether CYP2D6 gene polymorphisms may account for long term tramadol-induced oxidative stress and hepatotoxicity in 60 patients receiving chronic tramadol treatment in Neurology and Rheumatology Outpatients Clinic, Zagazig University Hospitals, Egypt. As expected, CYP2D6*1 allele (wild type) frequency was significantly greater than CYP2D6*DUP, CYP2D6*4 and CYP2D6*10 alleles in both chronically tramadol-treated and control groups. In tramadol-treated patients, CYP2D6*DUP allele carriers followed by those carrying CYP2D6*1, displayed higher levels of urinary tramadol major active metabolite, O-desmethyltramadol (M1) and serum lipid peroxidation along with lower levels of total antioxidants than those carrying other impaired function alleles (CYP2D6*4&*10), suggesting oxidative stress. There were also significant increases in serum hepatic damage markers including alpha-glutathione transferase (α-GST) levels and liver function enzyme activities in *DUP and *1 carriers compared to carriers of other alleles. Moreover, we reported that in 42 patients with allele *1, tramadol caused mild to moderate hepatotoxicity (grades: 1–2) within 13–16months while in 7 patients with duplicated allele (*DUP), tramadol caused moderate to severe hepatotoxicity (grades: 2–3) within 10–11months (moderately longer period but shorter than that observed in allele *1), implying that exposure to tramadol for longer time in extensive and ultra-rapid metabolizers may contribute to hepatotoxicity development. Overall, our results suggest that CYP2D6 gene polymorphisms, particularly enhanced or normal function of CYP2D6, may increase the vulnerability to long term tramadol-induced hepatotoxicity through the enhancement of accumulation of tramadol bioactive metabolite (M1) and hence oxidative stress. Therefore, tramadol doses should be adjusted according to patient's CYP2D6 genotyping analysis to avoid hepatotoxicity.

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