Patients with HIV commonly use herbal products and dietary supplements in addition to medications prescribed by their physicians. Up to 73% of patients with HIV have reported using some form of complementary or alternative medicine. As such, the potential for clinically significant drug interactions between herbs and antiretrovirals is becoming increasingly appreciated. Despite this awareness, little is known about the effect of commonly used herbal products, such as echinacea, ginkgo biloba, and ginseng, on antiretroviral pharmacokinetics. Interacting herbal supplements have the potential to alter protease inhibitor (PI) plasma concentrations, as has been shown with St. Johns wort and garlic. Drug interactions may potentially increase antiretroviral concentrations, putting patients at risk for toxicities, or lower drug concentrations, putting patients in jeopardy of antiretroviral failure. The protease inhibitors lopinavir and ritonavir both rely principally on cytochrome P450 (CYP) 3A4 metabolism for their elimination. In addition, both drugs are both substrates for the transport protein p-glycoprotein (P-gp), which may also contribute to their distribution and elimination. ? ? The primary purpose of this investigation is to determine whether the herbal supplements Echinacea purpurea, ginkgo biloba, and Panax ginseng alter the pharmacokinetic properties of the HIV protease inhibitor combination lopinavir/ritonavir (LPV/r). Secondary objectives will assess the influence of E. purpurea, G. bilobaextract (GBE), and P. ginseng on (1) CYP3A enzyme activity and (2) P-gp mediated drug transport. This is an open label pharmacokinetic study that will be performed on an outpatient basis. A total of 42 study participants who have met inclusion criteria will be sequentially divided into one of 3 groups, such that 14 subjects each will receive LPV/r alone and in combination with either E. purpurea, G. biloba, or P. ginseng. Subjects will receive single oral doses of fexofenadine 120 mg and midazolam 8 mg followed by plasma collection for determination of baseline CYP3A and P-gp phenotypes (Study Day 1). Between 7 and 28 days after Day 1, subjects will begin taking LPV/r (400mg/100mg twice daily x 29.5 days), returning to clinic on Day 15 of LPV/r for post-dose plasma collection and determination of lopinavir and ritonavir concentrations. On Day 16 participants will begin taking either E. purpurea (800 mg, twice daily), G. biloba extract (120 mg, twice daily), or P. ginseng (500 mg, three times daily) for 28 days. On the 30th day of LPV/r (Day 15 of the herb), subjects will return to clinic where they will take their final LPV/r dose and then have their plasma collected for determination of lopinavir and ritonavir concentrations. On the last day (28th day) of herbal supplementation, participants will return to the clinic for determination of P-gp and 3A phenotypes using single doses of fexofenadine and midazolam as described for Study Day 1. Data from this investigation will determine whether echinacea, ginseng, or ginkgo biloba supplements alter the pharmacokinetics of the protease inhibitor combination lopinavir/ritonavir, and whether or not modulation of CYP3A and/or P-gp contributed to any observed interaction.? ? The first arm of this study, assessing the influence of GBE on lopinavir and ritonavir disposition, has been completed. Lopinavir, ritonavir and fexofenadine exposures were not significantly affected by GBE administration. However, GBE decreased midazolam AUC(0-infinity) and C(max) by 34% (p = 0.03) and 31% (p = 0.03), respectively, relative to baseline. In general, lopinavir/ritonavir and GBE were well tolerated. Abnormal laboratory results included mild elevations in hepatic enzymes, cholesterol and triglycerides, and mild-to-moderate increases in total bilirubin. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that GBE induces CYP3A metabolism, as assessed by a decrease in midazolam concentrations. However, there was no change in the exposure of lopinavir, likely due to ritonavir's potent inhibition of CYP3A4. Thus, GBE appears unlikely to reduce the exposure of ritonavir-boosted protease inhibitors, while concentrations of unboosted protease inhibitors may be affected. Limitations to our study include the single sequence design and the evaluation of a ritonavir-boosted protease inhibitor exclusively.? ? The second arm of this study, assessing the influence of Echinacea purpurea on lopinavir-ritonavir pharmacokinetics, was recently completed. The area under the concentration vs. time curve (90% confidence intervals) from zero to 12 hrs (AUC, 0-12) for lopinavir was 109 (88-131)g*hr/mL before- vs. 105 (81-129) g*hr/mL after Echinacea administration (P = 0.82). Similarly, there were no significant differences (P > 0.05) in lopinavir maximum concentration (Cmax), apparent oral clearance at steady state (Clss/F), and half-life (T ) after Echinacea administration; this also held true for ritonavir pharmacokinetic parameter values pre- and post Echinacea dosing. In summary, two weeks of Echinacea purpurea administration did not alter the steady state pharmacokinetic profiles of lopinavir and ritonavir in healthy human subjects. These data suggest that a pharmacokinetic interaction between Echinacea purpurea and lopinavir-ritonavir is unlikely to occur in HIV-infected individuals taking these products in combination. ? ? The third arm of the study, assessing the influence of Panax ginseng on lopinavir-ritonavir pharmacokinetics will begin enrolling in October-November, 2008.