Pharmacokinetic Drug Interactions with Panax ginseng

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Panax ginseng is widely used as an adaptogen throughout the world. The major active constituents of P. ginseng are ginsenosides. Most naturally occurring ginsenosides are deglycosylated by colonic bacteria to intestinal metabolites. Ginsenosides along with these metabolites are widely accepted as being responsible for the pharmacologic activity and drug interaction potential of ginseng. Numerous preclinical studies have assessed the influence of various ginseng components on cytochrome P450 (CYP), glucuronidation, and drug transport activity. Results from these investigations have been largely inconclusive due to the use of different ginseng products and variations in methodology between studies. Drug interaction studies in humans have been conflicting and have largely yielded negative results or results that suggest only a weak interaction. One study using a midazolam probe found weak CYP3A induction and another using a fexofenadine probe found weak P-gp inhibition. Despite several case reports indicating a drug interaction between warfarin and P. ginseng, pharmacokinetic studies involving these agents in combination have failed to find significant pharmacokinetic or pharmacodynamic interactions. To this end, drug interactions involving P. ginseng appear to be rare; however, close clinical monitoring is still suggested for patients taking warfarin or CYP3A or P-gp substrates with narrow therapeutic indices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)545-557
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean Journal of Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2017


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