Herbal medicines and their active ingredients are widely used worldwide, and they have become an important part of clinical medicine. The combined use of herbs and drugs has increased the possibility of pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic interactions. Clinical studies have demonstrated that the combined use of herbs and drugs can enhance or attenuate the drug efficacy and toxicity. The herb-drug combinations may reduce a drug efficacy and lead to treatment failure when long-term administration. Case reports detailing serious clinical adverse reactions have promoted studies on the interactions between herbs and drugs. This review highlights recent knowledge to discuss herb-drug interactions involving metabolizing enzymes and drug transporters. Drug transporters are widely present in body and play an important role in the absorption, distribution, excretion and metabolism, efficacy, and toxicity of drugs. Investigation of transporters has developed rapidly since 1990s, the effects of many transporters on the pharmacokinetics of drugs and herb-drug interactions have been reported. Some concepts on drug transporters issued experimentally and clinically drug-drug and herb-drug interactions have applied in many studies. Methodology studies are very important for understanding the mechanism, considerations and evaluation of experiments and clinical studies on drug metabolizing enzymes and transporters in drug-drug interactions.
Keywords: Drug-drug interaction, herbal medicines, herb-drug interactions, metabolizing enzymes, transporter, Immunodeficiency virus (HIV), Ribavirin, Azathioprine, Endomyocardial biopsy, Ginsenosides
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