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Sporanox Oral Solution

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Sporanox Oral Solution


Pharmacokinetics And Metabolism - Itraconazole

General Pharmacokinetic Characteristics

Peak plasma concentrations are reached within 2.5 hours following administration of the oral solution. As a consequence of non-linear pharmacokinetics, itraconazole accumulates in plasma during multiple dosing. Steady-state concentrations are generally reached within about 15 days, with Cmax and AUC values 4 to 7-fold higher than those seen after a single dose. Steady-state Cmax values of about 2 μg/ml are reached after oral administration of 200 mg once daily. The terminal half-life of itraconazole generally ranges from 16 to 28 hours after single dose and increases to 34 to 42 hours with repeated dosing. Once treatment is stopped, itraconazole plasma concentrations decrease to an almost undetectable concentration within 7 to 14 days, depending on the dose and duration of treatment. Itraconazole mean total plasma clearance following intravenous administration is 278 ml/min. Itraconazole clearance decreases at higher doses due to saturable hepatic metabolism.


Itraconazole is rapidly absorbed after administration of the oral solution. Peak plasma concentrations of itraconazole are reached within 2.5 hours following administration of the oral solution under fasting conditions. The observed absolute bioavailability of itraconazole under fed conditions is about 55% and increases by 30% when the oral solution is taken in fasting conditions. Itraconazole exposure is greater with the oral solution than with the capsule formulation when the same dose of drug is given. (see WARNINGS)


Most of the itraconazole in plasma is bound to protein (99.8%), with albumin being the main binding component (99.6% for the hydroxy-metabolite). It has also a marked affinity for lipids. Only 0.2% of the itraconazole in plasma is present as free drug. Itraconazole is distributed in a large apparent volume in the body ( > 700 L), suggesting extensive distribution into tissues. Concentrations in lung, kidney, liver, bone, stomach, spleen and muscle were found to be two to three times higher than corresponding concentrations in plasma, and the uptake into keratinous tissues, skin in particular, up to four times higher. Concentrations in the cerebrospinal fluid are much lower than in plasma.


Itraconazole is extensively metabolized by the liver into a large number of metabolites. In vitro studies have shown that CYP3A4 is the major enzyme involved in the metabolism of itraconazole. The main metabolite is hydroxy-itraconazole, which has in vitro antifungal activity comparable to itraconazole; trough plasma concentrations of this metabolite are about twice those of itraconazole.


Itraconazole is excreted mainly as inactive metabolites in urine (35%) and in feces (54%) within one week of an oral solution dose. Renal excretion of itraconazole and the active metabolite hydroxy-itraconazole account for less than 1% of an intravenous dose. Based on an oral radiolabeled dose, fecal excretion of unchanged drug ranges from 3% to 18% of the dose.

Special Populations

Renal Impairment

Limited data are available on the use of oral itraconazole in patients with renal impairment. A pharmacokinetic study using a single 200-mg oral dose of itraconazole was conducted in three groups of patients with renal impairment (uremia: n=7; hemodialysis: n=7; and continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis: n=5). In uremic subjects with a mean creatinine clearance of 13 mL/min. 1.73 m², the exposure, based on AUC, was slightly reduced compared with normal population parameters. This study did not demonstrate any significant effect of hemodialysis or continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis on the pharmacokinetics of itraconazole (Tmax, Cmax, and AUC0-8h). Plasma concentration-versus-time profiles showed wide intersubject variation in all three groups.

After a single intravenous dose, the mean terminal half-lives of itraconazole in patients with mild (defined in this study as CrCl 50-79 ml/min), moderate (defined in this study as CrCl 20-49 ml/min), and severe renal impairment (defined in this study as CrCl < 20 ml/min) were similar to that in healthy subjects (range of means 42-49 hours vs 48 hours in renally impaired patients and healthy subjects, respectively). Overall exposure to itraconazole, based on AUC, was decreased in patients with moderate and severe renal impairment by approximately 30% and 40%, respectively, as compared with subjects with normal renal function.

Data are not available in renally impaired patients during long-term use of itraconazole. Dialysis has no effect on the half-life or clearance of itraconazole or hydroxy-itraconazole. (See PRECAUTIONS and DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION.)

Hepatic Impairment

Itraconazole is predominantly metabolized in the liver. A pharmacokinetic study was conducted in 6 healthy and 12 cirrhotic subjects who were administered a single 100-mg dose of itraconazole as capsule. A statistically significant reduction in mean Cmax (47%) and a twofold increase in the elimination half-life (37 ± 17 hours vs. 16 ± 5 hours) of itraconazole were noted in cirrhotic subjects compared with healthy subjects. However, overall exposure to itraconazole, based on AUC, was similar in cirrhotic patients and in healthy subjects. Data are not available in cirrhotic patients during long-term use of itraconazole. (See CONTRAINDICATIONS, PRECAUTIONS : DRUG INTERACTIONS and DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION.)

Decreased Cardiac Contractility

When itraconazole was administered intravenously to anesthetized dogs, a dose-related negative inotropic effect was documented. In a healthy volunteer study of itraconazole intravenous infusion, transient, asymptomatic decreases in left ventricular ejection fraction were observed using gated SPECT imaging; these resolved before the next infusion, 12 hours later. If signs or symptoms of congestive heart failure appear during administration of SPORANOX® Oral Solution, monitor carefully and consider other treatment alternatives which may include discontinuation of SPORANOX® Oral Solution administration. (See BOXED WARNING, CONTRAINDICATIONS, WARNINGS, PRECAUTIONS: DRUG INTERACTIONS and ADVERSE REACTIONS: Post-marketing Experience for more information.)

Cystic Fibrosis

Seventeen cystic fibrosis patients, ages 7 to 28 years old, were administered itraconazole oral solution 2.5 mg/kg b.i.d. for 14 days in a pharmacokinetic study. Sixteen patients completed the study. Steady state trough concentrations > 250 ng/mL were achieved in 6 out of 11 patients ≥ 16 years of age but in none of the 5 patients < 16 years of age. Large variability was observed in the pharmacokinetic data (%CV for trough concentrations = 98% and 70% for ≥ 16 and < 16 years, respectively; %CV for AUC = 75% and 58% for ≥ 16 and < 16 years, respectively). If a patient with cystic fibrosis does not respond to SPORANOX® Oral Solution, consideration should be given to switching to alternative therapy.


The oral bioavailability of hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin given as a solubilizer of itraconazole in oral solution is on average lower than 0.5% and is similar to that of hydroxypropyl-βcyclodextrin alone. This low oral bioavailability of hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin is not modified by the presence of food and is similar after single and repeated administrations.


Mechanism Of Action

In vitro studies have demonstrated that itraconazole inhibits the cytochrome P450-dependent synthesis of ergosterol, which is a vital component of fungal cell membranes.

Drug Resistance

Isolates from several fungal species with decreased susceptibility to itraconazole have been isolated in vitro and from patients receiving prolonged therapy.

Candida krusei, Candida glabrata and Candida tropicalis are generally the least susceptible Candida species, with some isolates showing unequivocal resistance to itraconazole in vitro.

Itraconazole is not active against Zygomycetes (e.g., Rhizopus spp., Rhizomucor spp., Mucor spp. and Absidia spp.), Fusarium spp., Scedosporium spp. and Scopulariopsis spp.


In systemic candidosis, if fluconazole-resistant strains of Candida species are suspected, it cannot be assumed that these are sensitive to itraconazole, hence their sensitivity should be tested before the start of itraconazole therapy.

Several in vitro studies have reported that some fungal clinical isolates, including Candida species, with reduced susceptibility to one azole antifungal agent may also be less susceptible to other azole derivatives. The finding of cross-resistance is dependent on a number of factors, including the species evaluated, its clinical history, the particular azole compounds compared, and the type of susceptibility test that is performed.

Studies (both in vitro and in vivo) suggest that the activity of amphotericin B may be suppressed by prior azole antifungal therapy. As with other azoles, itraconazole inhibits the 14C-demethylation step in the synthesis of ergosterol, a cell wall component of fungi. Ergosterol is the active site for amphotericin B. In one study the antifungal activity of amphotericin B against Aspergillus fumigatus infections in mice was inhibited by ketoconazole therapy. The clinical significance of test results obtained in this study is unknown.

Activity In Vitro and In Vivo

Itraconazole has been shown to be active against most strains of the following microorganism, both in vitro and in clinical infections.

Candida albicans

Susceptibility Testing Methods

(Applicable to Candida isolates from patients with oropharyngeal or esophageal candidiasis)

Candida albicans

The interpretive criteria and breakpoints for itraconazole against Candida albicans are applicable to tests performed using Clinical Laboratory and Standards Institute (CLSI) microbroth dilution reference method M27A for MIC (partial inhibition endpoint) read at 48 hours.

Broth Microdilution Techniques

Quantitative methods are used to determine antifungal minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs). These MICs provide estimates of the susceptibility of Candida spp. to antifungal agents. MICs should be determined using a standardized procedure at 48 hours. Standardized procedures are based on a microdilution method (broth)1,2 with standardized inoculum concentrations and standardized concentrations of itraconazole powder. The MIC values should be interpreted according to the criteria provided in Table below:

Susceptibility Interpretive Criteria for Itraconazole1,2

Pathogen Broth Microdilution MIC* (μg/mL) at 48 Hours
Candida albicans ≤ 0.125 0.25 - 0.5 ≥ 1
* A report of “Susceptible” indicates that the pathogen is likely to be inhibited if the antimicrobial compound in the blood reaches the concentrations usually achievable. The intermediate category implies that an infection due to the isolate may be appropriately treated in the body sites where the drugs are physiologically concentrated or when a high dosage of drug is used. The resistant category implies that isolates are not inhibited by the usually achievable concentrations of the agent with normal dosage schedules and clinical efficacy of the agent against the isolate has not been reliably shown in treatment studies. The intermediate category is sometimes called Susceptible-Dose Dependent (SDD) and both categories are equivalent for itraconazole.

Quality Control

Standardized susceptibility test procedures require the use of quality control organisms to control the technical aspects of the test procedures. Standard itraconazole powder should provide the following range of values noted in the table below.

NOTE: Quality control microorganisms are specific strains of organisms with intrinsic biological properties relating to resistance mechanisms and their genetic expression within fungi; the specific strains used for microbiological control are not clinically significant.

Acceptable Quality Control Ranges for Itraconazole to be used in Validation of Susceptibility Test Results1,2

QC Strain Broth Microdilution MIC (μg/mL) at 48 Hours
Candidaparapsilosis ATCC†22019 0.06-0.25
Candida krusei ATCC 6258 0.12-0.5
† ATCC is the registered trademark of the American Type Culture Collection.

Clinical Studies

Oropharyngeal Candidiasis

Two randomized, controlled studies for the treatment of oropharyngeal candidiasis have been conducted (total n=344). In one trial, clinical response to either 7 or 14 days of itraconazole oral solution, 200 mg/day, was similar to fluconazole tablets and averaged 84% across all arms. Clinical response in this study was defined as cured or improved (only minimal signs and symptoms with no visible lesions). Approximately 5% of subjects were lost to follow-up before any evaluations could be performed. Response to 14 days therapy of itraconazole oral solution was associated with a lower relapse rate than 7 days of itraconazole therapy. In another trial, the clinical response rate (defined as cured or improved) for itraconazole oral solution was similar to clotrimazole troches and averaged approximately 71% across both arms, with approximately 3% of subjects lost to follow-up before any evaluations could be performed. Ninety-two percent of the patients in these studies were HIV seropositive.

In an uncontrolled, open-label study of selected patients clinically unresponsive to fluconazole tablets (n=74, all patients HIV seropositive), patients were treated with itraconazole oral solution 100 mg b.i.d. (Clinically unresponsive to fluconazole in this study was defined as having received a dose of fluconazole tablets at least 200 mg/day for a minimum of 14 days.) Treatment duration was 14-28 days based on response. Approximately 55% of patients had complete resolution of oral lesions. Of patients who responded and then entered a follow-up phase (n=22), all relapsed within 1 month (median 14 days) when treatment was discontinued. Although baseline endoscopies had not been performed, several patients in this study developed symptoms of esophageal candidiasis while receiving therapy with itraconazole oral solution. Itraconazole oral solution has not been directly compared to other agents in a controlled trial of similar patients.

Esophageal Candidiasis

A double-blind randomized study (n=119, 111 of whom were HIV seropositive) compared itraconazole oral solution (100 mg/day) to fluconazole tablets (100 mg/day). The dose of each was increased to 200 mg/day for patients not responding initially. Treatment continued for 2 weeks following resolution of symptoms, for a total duration of treatment of 3-8 weeks. Clinical response (a global assessment of cured or improved) was not significantly different between the two study arms, and averaged approximately 86% with 8% lost to follow-up. Six of 53 (11%) itraconazole-treated patients and 12/57 (21%) fluconazole-treated patients were escalated to the 200 mg dose in this trial. Of the subgroup of patients who responded and entered a follow-up phase (n=88), approximately 23% relapsed across both arms within 4 weeks.


1. Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI). Reference Method for Broth Dilution Antifungal Susceptibility Testing of Yeasts; Approved Standard-Third Edition. CLSI document M27-A3. Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute, 940 West Valley Road, Suite 1400, Wayne, Pennsylvania 19087-1898, USA, 2008.

2. Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI). Reference Method for Broth Dilution Antifungal Susceptibility Testing of Yeasts; Fourth Informational Supplement. CLSI document M27-S4. Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute, 940 West Valley Road, Suite 2500, Wayne, Pennsylvania 19087 USA, 2012.

Last reviewed on RxList: 12/15/2016
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

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