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Absorption, Metabolism, Distribution, and Excretion of Letermovir


Karsten Menzel*, Prajakti Kothare, Jacqueline B. McCrea, Xiaoyan Chu and Dirk Kropeit  


Background: Letermovir is approved for prophylaxis of cytomegalovirus infection and disease in cytomegalovirus-seropositive hematopoietic stem-cell transplant (HSCT) recipients.

Objective: HSCT recipients are required to take many drugs concomitantly. The pharmacokinetics, absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion of letermovir and its potential to inhibit metabolizing enzymes and transporters In vitro were investigated to inform on the potential for drug‒drug interactions (DDIs).

Methods: A combination of in vitro and in vivo studies described the absorption, distribution, metabolism, and routes of elimination of letermovir, as well as the enzymes and transporters involved in these processes. The effect of letermovir to inhibit and induce metabolizing enzymes and transporters were evaluated In vitro and its victim and perpetrator DDI potentials were predicted by applying the regulatory guidance for DDI assessment.

Results: Letermovir was a substrate of CYP3A4/5 and UGT1A1/3 in vitro. Letermovir showed concentration-dependent uptake into organic anionic transporting polypeptide (OATP)1B1/3-transfected cells and was a substrate of P-glycoprotein (P-gp). In a human ADME study, letermovir was primarily recovered as unchanged drug and minor amounts of a direct glucuronide in feces. Based on the metabolic pathway profiling of letermovir, there were few oxidative metabolites in human matrix. Letermovir inhibited CYP2B6, CYP2C8, CYP3A, and UGT1A1 in vitro, and induced CYP3A4 and CYP2B6 in hepatocytes. Letermovir also inhibited OATP1B1/3, OATP2B1, OAT3, OCT2, BCRP, BSEP, and P-gp.

Conclusion: The body of work presented in this manuscript informed on the potential for DDIs when letermovir is administered both intravenously and orally in HSCT recipients.


drug metabolizing enzymes, drug‒drug interactions, human ADME study, in vitro; In vivo, letermovir, OATP1B, transporters


Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, New Jersey, Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, New Jersey, Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, New Jersey, Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, New Jersey, AiCuris Anti-infective Cures GmbH, Wuppertal

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