• quinine;
  • smoking;
  • drug metabolism;
  • pharmacokinetics;
  • enzyme induction

The pharmacokinetics of a single dose (600 mg) of quinine sulphate were examined in a group of non-smokers (n = 10) and in heavy cigarette smokers (n = 10). The mean (± s.d.) oral clearance of quinine in smokers (0.189 ± 0.075 1 h−1 kg−1) was significantly greater than in non-smokers (0.107 ± 0.0451 h−1 kg−1, P < 0.01). The unbound clearance of quinine which reflects activity of the drug-metabolizing enzyme, was considerably greater (1.5-fold) in the smokers than in the non-smoker subjects. The mean elimination half-life of quinine in smokers was 7.5 ± 1.4 (s.d.) h, significantly shorter (P < 0.005) than the mean value in non-smokers (12.0 ± 3.1 h). These results suggest that cigarette smoking enhances the elimination of quinine. The clinical significance of these findings is unknown but they indicate the need for caution in the administration of quinine to patients who are heavy cigarette smokers.