Pharmacology-informed prediction of the risk posed to fish by mixtures of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in the environment


The presence of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in the aquatic environment has raised concern that chronic exposure to these compounds may cause adverse effects in wild fish populations. This potential scenario has led some stakeholders to advocate a stricter regulation of NSAIDs, especially diclofenac. Considering their global clinical importance for the management of pain and inflammation, any regulation that may affect patient access to NSAIDs will have considerable implications for public health. The current environmental risk assessment of NSAIDs is driven by the results of a limited number of standard toxicity tests and does not take into account mechanistic and pharmacological considerations. Here we present a pharmacology-informed framework that enables the prediction of the risk posed to fish by 25 different NSAIDs and their dynamic mixtures. Using network pharmacology approaches, we demonstrated that these 25 NSAIDs display a significant mechanistic promiscuity that could enhance the risk of target-mediated mixture effects near environmentally relevant concentrations. Integrating NSAIDs pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic features, we provide highly specific predictions of the adverse phenotypes associated with exposure to NSAIDs, and we developed a visual multi-scale model to guide the interpretation of the toxicological relevance of any given set of NSAIDs exposure data. Our analysis demonstrated a non-negligible risk posed to fish by NSAID mixtures in situations of high drug use and low dilution of waste-water treatment plant effluents. We anticipate that this predictive framework will support the future regulatory environmental risk assessment of NSAIDs and increase the effectiveness of ecopharmacovigilance strategies. Moreover, it can facilitate the prediction of the toxicological risk posed by mixtures via the implementation of mechanistic considerations and could be readily extended to other classes of chemicals.

Authors: Philip Marmon, Stewart F Owen, Luigi Margiotta-Casaluci
; Full Source: Environment international 2020 Nov 3;146:106222. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2020.106222.