Effect of HIV, antiretrovirals, and genetics on methadone pharmacokinetics: Results from the methadone antiretroviral pharmacokinetics study

Gavin B Bart, Le Minh Giang, Hoang Yen, James S. Hodges, Richard C. Brundage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Methadone treatment of opioid use disorder in HIV-infected individuals is complicated by drug-drug interactions. Genetic and other cofactors further contribute to interindividual variability in methadone pharmacokinetics. We used population pharmacokinetics to estimate the effect of drug-drug interactions, genetics, and other cofactors on methadone pharmacokinetics in a methadone maintained population in Vietnam. Methods: Plasma R- and S-methadone levels were measured in 309 methadone maintained individuals just before and 2−5 h following methadone dosing. A linear one-compartment population pharmacokinetic model with first-order conditional estimation with interaction was used to evaluate methadone clearance (CL/F) and volume of distribution (V/F). The influence of covariates on parameter estimates was evaluated using stepwise covariate modeling. Covariates included HIV status, antiretroviral use (efavirenz or nevirapine), weight, BMI, age, methadone dose, and 8 single nucleotide polymorphisms in across the CYP2B6, ABCB1, and NR1I3 genes. Results: Taking either efavirenz or nevirapine increased R-methadone CL/F 220%. Nevirapine and efavirenz increased S-methadone CL/F by 404% and 273%, respectively. Variants in NR1I3 increased R- and S-methadone CL/F by approximately 20% only in patients taking efavirenz. Different alleles in ABCB1 rs2032582 either increased or decreased R-methadone CL/F by 10%. The CYP 2B6*4 variant decreased S-methadone CL/F by 18%. HIV-infection increased R- and S-methadone CL/F and V/F by 24%–39%. Conclusions: The HIV antiretrovirals nevirapine and efavirenz significantly increase methadone clearance. Variants inNR1I3 increased the effect of efavirenz on methadone clearance. Other variants affecting methadone CL/F were also confirmed. To our knowledge, this is the first report of HIV itself affecting methadone pharmacokinetics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number109025
JournalDrug and alcohol dependence
StatePublished - Oct 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to acknowledge Dr. Jag Khalsa for early support of the grant, Drs. Tam Nguyen Thi Minh and Thanh Van Ta for supporting implementation of this study in Vietnam, Mr. James Fisher for establishing and conducting all methadone assays, and the research assistant support of Ms. Linnae Baird, Ms. Carnalya Johnson, and the HMU CREATA team.

Funding Information:
Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R01DA040510. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier B.V.


  • Drug-drug interactions
  • Genetics
  • HIV
  • Methadone
  • Pharmacokinetics


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