Impairment of antipyrine metabolism by low‐dose oral contraceptive steroids

Darrell R. Abernethy, David J. Greenblatt

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45 Scopus citations


The effect of low‐dose oral contraceptive steroids (OCS) on the kinetics of intravenous antipyrine was determined. Eight women (age, 23.1 ± 1.1 yr (x̄ ± SE); weight, 57.8 ± 2.2 kg) using low‐dose (≤ 50 µg) estrogen oral contraceptive steroids (OCS) on a long‐term basis were age‐ and weight‐matched with eight controls (age, 23.4 ± 0.8 yr; weight, 58.4 ± 2.1 kg) not using OCS. All were nonsmokers taking no other drugs. OCS subjects had a longer antipyrine elimination half‐life (t½β) than the controls (17.3 ± 1.6 and 10.5 ± 0.8 hr; p < 0.005). Volume of distribution was similar for both groups (0.59 ± 0.02 l/kg [OCS] and 0.58 ± 0.02 l/kg). Total metabolic clearance of antipyrine was slowed in OCS subjects (0.41 ± 0.03 and 0.66 ± 0.05 ml/min/kg; p < 0.001). Since volume of distribution and body weight are of the same order in both groups, prolongation of antipyrine t½β is the result of decreased total metabolic clearance. Thus, even low‐dose estrogen containing OCS may impair clearance of other drugs. Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics (1981) 29, 106–110; doi:

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)106-110
Number of pages5
JournalClinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1981

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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