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January 13, 1969

Increased Rate of Tolbutamide Metabolism in Alcoholic Patients

Author Affiliations

From the Alcoholism Unit, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; Johns Hopkins Hospital; and Baltimore City Hospitals, Baltimore. Drs. Kater and Tobon are fellows in Medicine of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Iber is now with Lemuel Shattuck Hospital, Boston.

JAMA. 1969;207(2):363-365. doi:10.1001/jama.1969.03150150075025

In a controlled human study the biological half-life of tolbutamide was found to be reduced more than twofold in alcoholic patients. We suggest that this effect is the result of stimulation by alcohol of a hepatic microsomal enzyme system in the human liver responsible for the metabolism of tolbutamide. The metabolism of other therapeutic agents could be similarly affected by alcohol, and this might lead to irregularities in response to drug treatment.