Within the field of drug metabolism, when addressing quantitative aspects, an average value is traditionally quoted, commonly the arithmetic mean with perhaps an indication of spread. Better still a range of values may be given, thereby acknowledging that various factors may precipitate differences between individuals. A single subject, however, usually only merits a single value. Nevertheless, events such as an acute illness or concurrent drug therapy serve to alert that this value may change substantially over a relatively short time-period, although any potential effects of naturally occurring phenomena, such as the female menstrual cycle, are often overlooked or disregarded. Are the biochemical and physiological changes that occur during the menstrual cycle able to influence xenobiotic metabolism? Is the idea of a stable and unwavering baseline within a single healthy individual flawed? Is it time to reassess our thinking with regards to such aspects? This brief review explores these issues and examines information available within the literature for evidence of potential influences of menstrual cycle events upon drug metabolism, defined as the actual chemical alteration of the parent molecule into another chemical species.
Keywords: Menstrual cycle, Hormones, Metabolism, Cytochrome P450, Pharmacokinetics, Xenobiotics
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