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The concurrent administration of adriamycin (intravenous) and verapamil (oral) is of considerable interest because of experimental data suggesting that resistance to adriamycin may be overcome by this means. The potential for a pharmacokinetic interaction between the two drugs has therefore been investigated in five patients with small cell lung cancer treated with combination chemotherapy comprising adriamycin, VP16, vincristine and cyclophosphamide. The data indicate that a significant interaction takes place. Adriamycin peak levels, terminal half-life and the volume of distribution at steady state are higher, whereas plasma drug clearance and the volume of the central compartment are lower with co-administration of verapamil. There was no evidence of enhanced drug toxicity in this study; however, the data should be considered in the interpretation of clinical trials in which adriamycin and verapamil are used together, both in terms of toxicity and tumour response.

Original publication




Journal article


Cancer Chemother Pharmacol

Publication Date





239 - 242


Administration, Oral, Carcinoma, Small Cell, Clinical Trials as Topic, Doxorubicin, Drug Interactions, Drug Therapy, Combination, Female, Half-Life, Humans, Injections, Intravenous, Kinetics, Lung Neoplasms, Male, Middle Aged, Random Allocation, Time Factors, Verapamil