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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Metabolism and disposition of clarithromycin in man.

The metabolic fate and pharmacokinetics of clarithromycin following a single 250- or 1200-mg oral dose of 14C-clarithromycin were studied in six healthy adult males. Peak plasma levels of clarithromycin averaged 0.6 microgram/ml after the low dose and 2.7 micrograms/ml after the high dose. The AUC of clarithromycin increased 13-fold, with the 4.8-fold increase in dose, while the plasma half-life increased from 4.4 hr to 11.3 hr. The major metabolite in plasma and urine was the microbiologically active 14-hydroxylated-R epimer of clarithromycin. After 5 days, a mean of 38% of the low dose (18% as clarithromycin) and 46% of the high dose (29% as clarithromycin) was recovered in the urine, with approximately one-third eliminated during the first 24 hr. The nature of the urinary and fecal metabolites revealed the involvement of three metabolic pathways, viz. 1) hydroxylation at the 14-position to form the R and S epimers, 2) N-demethylation, and 3) hydrolysis of the cladinose sugar. Secondary metabolism via these pathways was also evident. The overall recovery of metabolites, but not total radioactivity, decreased 42% after the high dose. The nonlinear pharmacokinetic behavior of clarithromycin and the decrease in metabolite production suggest that clarithromycin metabolism can be saturated at high doses.[1]


  1. Metabolism and disposition of clarithromycin in man. Ferrero, J.L., Bopp, B.A., Marsh, K.C., Quigley, S.C., Johnson, M.J., Anderson, D.J., Lamm, J.E., Tolman, K.G., Sanders, S.W., Cavanaugh, J.H. Drug Metab. Dispos. (1990) [Pubmed]
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