The impact of sepsis on hepatic drug metabolism in critically ill patients: a narrative review

Tim M. J. Ewoldt*, Alan Abdulla, Nicole Hunfeld, Letao Li, Tim J. L. Smeets, Diederik Gommers, Birgit C. P. Koch, Henrik Endeman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

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Introduction Hepatic drug metabolism is important in improving drug dosing strategies in sepsis. Pharmacokinetics in the critically ill population are severely altered due to changes in absorption, distribution, excretion and metabolization. Hepatic drug metabolism might be altered due to changes in hepatic blood flow, drug metabolizing protein availability, and protein binding. The purpose of this review is to examine evidence on whether hepatic drug metabolism is significantly affected in septic patients, and to provide insights in the need for future research. Areas covered This review describes the effect of sepsis on hepatic drug metabolism in humans. Clinical trials, pathophysiological background information and example drug groups are further discussed. The literature search has been conducted in Embase, Medline ALL Ovid, and Cochrane CENTRAL register of trials. Expert opinion Limited research has been conducted on drug metabolism in the sepsis population, with some trials having researched healthy individuals using endotoxin injections. Notwithstanding this limitation, hepatic drug metabolism seems to be decreased for certain drugs in sepsis. More research on the pharmacokinetic behavior of hepatic metabolized drugs in sepsis is warranted, using inflammatory biomarkers, hemodynamic changes, mechanical ventilation, organ support, and catecholamine infusion as possible confounders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)413-421
Number of pages9
JournalExpert Opinion on Drug Metabolism & Toxicology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 3 Aug 2022

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© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


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