Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

VFEND® (voriconazole) Clinical Pharmacology

12 CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY

12.1 Mechanism of Action

Voriconazole is an antifungal drug [see Microbiology (12.4)].

12.2 Pharmacodynamics

Exposure-Response Relationship For Efficacy and Safety

In 10 clinical trials (N=1121), the median values for the average and maximum voriconazole plasma concentrations in individual patients across these studies was 2.51 µg/mL (inter-quartile range 1.21 to 4.44 µg/mL) and 3.79 µg/mL (inter-quartile range 2.06 to 6.31 µg/mL), respectively. A pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic analysis of patient data from 6 of these 10 clinical trials (N=280) could not detect a positive association between mean, maximum or minimum plasma voriconazole concentration and efficacy. However, pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic analyses of the data from all 10 clinical trials identified positive associations between plasma voriconazole concentrations and rate of both liver function test abnormalities and visual disturbances [see Adverse Reactions (6)].

Cardiac Electrophysiology

A placebo-controlled, randomized, crossover study to evaluate the effect on the QT interval of healthy male and female subjects was conducted with three single oral doses of voriconazole and ketoconazole. Serial ECGs and plasma samples were obtained at specified intervals over a 24-hour post dose observation period. The placebo-adjusted mean maximum increases in QTc from baseline after 800, 1200, and 1600 mg of voriconazole and after ketoconazole 800 mg were all <10 msec. Females exhibited a greater increase in QTc than males, although all mean changes were <10 msec. Age was not found to affect the magnitude of increase in QTc. No subject in any group had an increase in QTc of ≥60 msec from baseline. No subject experienced an interval exceeding the potentially clinically relevant threshold of 500 msec. However, the QT effect of voriconazole combined with drugs known to prolong the QT interval is unknown [see Contraindications (4) and Drug Interactions (7)].

12.3 Pharmacokinetics

The pharmacokinetics of voriconazole have been characterized in healthy subjects, special populations and patients.

The pharmacokinetics of voriconazole are non-linear due to saturation of its metabolism. The interindividual variability of voriconazole pharmacokinetics is high. Greater than proportional increase in exposure is observed with increasing dose. It is estimated that, on average, increasing the oral dose from 200 mg every 12 hours to 300 mg every 12 hours leads to an approximately 2.5-fold increase in exposure (AUCτ); similarly, increasing the intravenous dose from 3 mg/kg every 12 hours to 4 mg/kg every 12 hours produces an approximately 2.5-fold increase in exposure (Table 12).

Table 12: Geometric Mean (%CV) Plasma Voriconazole Pharmacokinetic Parameters in Adults Receiving Different Dosing Regimens
6 mg/kg IV
(loading dose)
3 mg/kg
IV every 12 hours
4 mg/kg
IV every 12 hours
400 mg Oral
(loading dose)
200 mg
Oral every 12 hours
300 mg
Oral every 12 hours
Note: Parameters were estimated based on non-compartmental analysis from 5 pharmacokinetic studies.
AUC12 = area under the curve over 12 hour dosing interval, Cmax = maximum plasma concentration, Cmin = minimum plasma concentration. CV = coefficient of variation
N352340174816
AUC12 (μg∙h/mL)13.9 (32)13.7 (53)33.9 (54)9.31 (38)12.4 (78)34.0 (53)
Cmax (μg/mL)3.13 (20)3.03 (25)4.77 (36)2.30 (19)2.31 (48)4.74 (35)
Cmin (μg/mL)--0.46 (97)1.73 (74)--0.46 (120)1.63 (79)

When the recommended intravenous loading dose regimen is administered to healthy subjects, plasma concentrations close to steady state are achieved within the first 24 hours of dosing (e.g., 6 mg/kg IV every 12 hours on day 1 followed by 3 mg/kg IV every 12 hours). Without the loading dose, accumulation occurs during twice daily multiple dosing with steady state plasma voriconazole concentrations being achieved by day 6 in the majority of subjects.

Absorption

The pharmacokinetic properties of voriconazole are similar following administration by the intravenous and oral routes. Based on a population pharmacokinetic analysis of pooled data in healthy subjects (N=207), the oral bioavailability of voriconazole is estimated to be 96% (CV 13%). Bioequivalence was established between the 200 mg tablet and the 40 mg/mL oral suspension when administered as a 400 mg every 12 hours loading dose followed by a 200 mg every 12 hours maintenance dose.

Maximum plasma concentrations (Cmax) are achieved 1–2 hours after dosing. When multiple doses of voriconazole are administered with high-fat meals, the mean Cmax and AUCτ are reduced by 34% and 24%, respectively when administered as a tablet and by 58% and 37% respectively when administered as the oral suspension [see Dosage and Administration (2)].

In healthy subjects, the absorption of voriconazole is not affected by coadministration of oral ranitidine, cimetidine, or omeprazole, drugs that are known to increase gastric pH.

Distribution

The volume of distribution at steady state for voriconazole is estimated to be 4.6 L/kg, suggesting extensive distribution into tissues. Plasma protein binding is estimated to be 58% and was shown to be independent of plasma concentrations achieved following single and multiple oral doses of 200 mg or 300 mg (approximate range: 0.9–15 µg/mL). Varying degrees of hepatic and renal impairment do not affect the protein binding of voriconazole.

Elimination

Metabolism

In vitro studies showed that voriconazole is metabolized by the human hepatic cytochrome P450 enzymes, CYP2C19, CYP2C9 and CYP3A4 [see Drug Interactions (7)].

In vivo studies indicated that CYP2C19 is significantly involved in the metabolism of voriconazole. This enzyme exhibits genetic polymorphism [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.5)].

The major metabolite of voriconazole is the N-oxide, which accounts for 72% of the circulating radiolabelled metabolites in plasma. Since this metabolite has minimal antifungal activity, it does not contribute to the overall efficacy of voriconazole.

Excretion

Voriconazole is eliminated via hepatic metabolism with less than 2% of the dose excreted unchanged in the urine. After administration of a single radiolabelled dose of either oral or IV voriconazole, preceded by multiple oral or IV dosing, approximately 80% to 83% of the radioactivity is recovered in the urine. The majority (>94%) of the total radioactivity is excreted in the first 96 hours after both oral and intravenous dosing.

As a result of non-linear pharmacokinetics, the terminal half-life of voriconazole is dose dependent and therefore not useful in predicting the accumulation or elimination of voriconazole.

Specific Populations

Male and Female Patients

In a multiple oral dose study, the mean Cmax and AUCτ for healthy young females were 83% and 113% higher, respectively, than in healthy young males (18–45 years), after tablet dosing. In the same study, no significant differences in the mean Cmax and AUCτ were observed between healthy elderly males and healthy elderly females (>65 years). In a similar study, after dosing with the oral suspension, the mean AUC for healthy young females was 45% higher than in healthy young males whereas the mean Cmax was comparable between genders. The steady state trough voriconazole concentrations (Cmin) seen in females were 100% and 91% higher than in males receiving the tablet and the oral suspension, respectively.

In the clinical program, no dosage adjustment was made on the basis of gender. The safety profile and plasma concentrations observed in male and female subjects were similar. Therefore, no dosage adjustment based on gender is necessary.

Geriatric Patients

In an oral multiple dose study the mean Cmax and AUCτ in healthy elderly males (≥65 years) were 61% and 86% higher, respectively, than in young males (18–45 years). No significant differences in the mean Cmax and AUCτ were observed between healthy elderly females (≥65 years) and healthy young females (18–45 years).

In the clinical program, no dosage adjustment was made on the basis of age. An analysis of pharmacokinetic data obtained from 552 patients from 10 voriconazole clinical trials showed that the median voriconazole plasma concentrations in the elderly patients (>65 years) were approximately 80% to 90% higher than those in the younger patients (≤65 years) after either IV or oral administration. However, the safety profile of voriconazole in young and elderly subjects was similar and, therefore, no dosage adjustment is necessary for the elderly [see Use in Special Populations (8.5)].

Pediatric Patients

The recommended doses in pediatric patients were based on a population pharmacokinetic analysis of data obtained from 112 immunocompromised pediatric patients aged 2 to less than 12 years and 26 immunocompromised pediatric patients aged 12 to less than 17 years.

A comparison of the pediatric and adult population pharmacokinetic data indicated that the predicted total exposure (AUC12) in pediatric patients aged 2 to less than 12 years following administration of a 9 mg/kg intravenous loading dose was comparable to that in adults following a 6 mg/kg intravenous loading dose. The predicted total exposures in pediatric patients aged 2 to less than 12 years following intravenous maintenance doses of 4 and 8 mg/kg twice daily were comparable to those in adults following 3 and 4 mg/kg IV twice daily, respectively.

The predicted total exposure in pediatric patients aged 2 to less than 12 years following an oral maintenance dose of 9 mg/kg (maximum of 350 mg) twice daily was comparable to that in adults following 200 mg oral twice daily. An 8 mg/kg intravenous dose will provide voriconazole exposure approximately 2-fold higher than a 9 mg/kg oral dose in pediatric patients aged 2 to less than 12 years.

Voriconazole exposures in the majority of pediatric patients aged 12 to less than 17 years were comparable to those in adults receiving the same dosing regimens. However, lower voriconazole exposure was observed in some pediatric patients aged 12 to less than 17 years with low body weight compared to adults [see Dosage and Administration (2.4)].

Limited voriconazole trough plasma samples were collected in pediatric patients aged 2 to less than 18 years with IA or invasive candidiasis including candidemia, and EC in two prospective, open-label, non-comparative, multicenter clinical studies. In eleven pediatric patients aged 2 to less than 12 years and aged 12 to 14 years, with body weight less than 50 kg, who received 9 mg/kg intravenously every 12 hours as a loading dose on the first day of treatment, followed by 8 mg/kg every 12 hours as an intravenous maintenance dose, or 9 mg/kg every 12 hours as an oral maintenance dose, the mean trough concentration of voriconazole was 3.6 mcg/mL (range 0.3 to 10.7 mcg/mL). In four pediatric patients aged 2 to less than 12 years and aged 12 to 14 years, with body weight less than 50 kg, who received 4 mg/kg intravenously every 12 hours, the mean trough concentration of voriconazole was 0.9 mcg/mL (range 0.3 to 1.6 mcg/mL) [see Clinical Studies (14.5)].

Patients with Hepatic Impairment

After a single oral dose (200 mg) of voriconazole in 8 patients with mild (Child-Pugh Class A) and 4 patients with moderate (Child-Pugh Class B) hepatic impairment, the mean systemic exposure (AUC) was 3.2-fold higher than in age and weight matched controls with normal hepatic function. There was no difference in mean peak plasma concentrations (Cmax) between the groups. When only the patients with mild (Child-Pugh Class A) hepatic impairment were compared to controls, there was still a 2.3-fold increase in the mean AUC in the group with hepatic impairment compared to controls.

In an oral multiple dose study, AUCτ was similar in 6 subjects with moderate hepatic impairment (Child-Pugh Class B) given a lower maintenance dose of 100 mg twice daily compared to 6 subjects with normal hepatic function given the standard 200 mg twice daily maintenance dose. The mean peak plasma concentrations (Cmax) were 20% lower in the hepatically impaired group. No pharmacokinetic data are available for patients with severe hepatic cirrhosis (Child-Pugh Class C) [see Dosage and Administration (2.5)].

Patients with Renal Impairment

In a single oral dose (200 mg) study in 24 subjects with normal renal function and mild to severe renal impairment, systemic exposure (AUC) and peak plasma concentration (Cmax) of voriconazole were not significantly affected by renal impairment. Therefore, no adjustment is necessary for oral dosing in patients with mild to severe renal impairment.

In a multiple dose study of IV voriconazole (6 mg/kg IV loading dose × 2, then 3 mg/kg IV × 5.5 days) in 7 patients with moderate renal dysfunction (creatinine clearance 30–50 mL/min), the systemic exposure (AUC) and peak plasma concentrations (Cmax) were not significantly different from those in 6 subjects with normal renal function.

However, in patients with moderate renal dysfunction (creatinine clearance 30–50 mL/min), accumulation of the intravenous vehicle, SBECD, occurs. The mean systemic exposure (AUC) and peak plasma concentrations (Cmax) of SBECD were increased 4-fold and almost 50%, respectively, in the moderately impaired group compared to the normal control group.

A pharmacokinetic study in subjects with renal failure undergoing hemodialysis showed that voriconazole is dialyzed with clearance of 121 mL/min. The intravenous vehicle, SBECD, is hemodialyzed with clearance of 55 mL/min. A 4-hour hemodialysis session does not remove a sufficient amount of voriconazole to warrant dose adjustment [see Dosage and Administration (2.6)].

Patients at Risk of Aspergillosis

The observed voriconazole pharmacokinetics in patients at risk of aspergillosis (mainly patients with malignant neoplasms of lymphatic or hematopoietic tissue) were similar to healthy subjects.

Drug Interaction Studies

Effects of Other Drugs on Voriconazole

Voriconazole is metabolized by the human hepatic cytochrome P450 enzymes CYP2C19, CYP2C9, and CYP3A4. Results of in vitro metabolism studies indicate that the affinity of voriconazole is highest for CYP2C19, followed by CYP2C9, and is appreciably lower for CYP3A4. Inhibitors or inducers of these three enzymes may increase or decrease voriconazole systemic exposure (plasma concentrations), respectively.

The systemic exposure to voriconazole is significantly reduced or is expected to be reduced by the concomitant administration of the following agents and their use is contraindicated:

Rifampin (potent CYP450 inducer)–Rifampin (600 mg once daily) decreased the steady state Cmax and AUCτ of voriconazole (200 mg every 12 hours × 7 days) by an average of 93% and 96%, respectively, in healthy subjects. Doubling the dose of voriconazole to 400 mg every 12 hours does not restore adequate exposure to voriconazole during coadministration with rifampin. Coadministration of voriconazole and rifampin is contraindicated [see Contraindications (4) and Warnings and Precautions (5.12)].

Ritonavir (potent CYP450 inducer; CYP3A4 inhibitor and substrate)–The effect of the coadministration of voriconazole and ritonavir (400 mg and 100 mg) was investigated in two separate studies. High-dose ritonavir (400 mg every 12 hours for 9 days) decreased the steady state Cmax and AUCτ of oral voriconazole (400 mg every 12 hours for 1 day, then 200 mg every 12 hours for 8 days) by an average of 66% and 82%, respectively, in healthy subjects. Low-dose ritonavir (100 mg every 12 hours for 9 days) decreased the steady state Cmax and AUCτ of oral voriconazole (400 mg every 12 hours for 1 day, then 200 mg every 12 hours for 8 days) by an average of 24% and 39%, respectively, in healthy subjects. Although repeat oral administration of voriconazole did not have a significant effect on steady state Cmax and AUCτ of high-dose ritonavir in healthy subjects, steady state Cmax and AUCτ of low-dose ritonavir decreased slightly by 24% and 14% respectively, when administered concomitantly with oral voriconazole in healthy subjects. Coadministration of voriconazole and high-dose ritonavir (400 mg every 12 hours) is contraindicated. Coadministration of voriconazole and low-dose ritonavir (100 mg every 12 hours) should be avoided, unless an assessment of the benefit/risk to the patient justifies the use of voriconazole [see Contraindications (4) and Warnings and Precautions (5.12)].

St. John's Wort (CYP450 inducer; P-gp inducer)–In an independent published study in healthy volunteers who were given multiple oral doses of St. John's Wort (300 mg LI 160 extract three times daily for 15 days) followed by a single 400 mg oral dose of voriconazole, a 59% decrease in mean voriconazole AUC0–∞ was observed. In contrast, coadministration of single oral doses of St. John's Wort and voriconazole had no appreciable effect on voriconazole AUC0–∞. Because long-term use of St. John's Wort could lead to reduced voriconazole exposure, concomitant use of voriconazole with St. John's Wort is contraindicated [see Contraindications (4)].

Carbamazepine and long-acting barbiturates (potent CYP450 inducers)–Although not studied in vitro or in vivo, carbamazepine and long-acting barbiturates (e.g., phenobarbital, mephobarbital) are likely to significantly decrease plasma voriconazole concentrations. Coadministration of voriconazole with carbamazepine or long-acting barbiturates is contraindicated [see Contraindications (4) and Warnings and Precautions (5.12)].

Significant drug interactions that may require voriconazole dosage adjustment, or frequent monitoring of voriconazole-related adverse events/toxicity:

Fluconazole (CYP2C9, CYP2C19 and CYP3A4 inhibitor): Concurrent administration of oral voriconazole (400 mg every 12 hours for 1 day, then 200 mg every 12 hours for 2.5 days) and oral fluconazole (400 mg on day 1, then 200 mg every 24 hours for 4 days) to 6 healthy male subjects resulted in an increase in Cmax and AUCτ of voriconazole by an average of 57% (90% CI: 20%, 107%) and 79% (90% CI: 40%, 128%), respectively. In a follow-on clinical study involving 8 healthy male subjects, reduced dosing and/or frequency of voriconazole and fluconazole did not eliminate or diminish this effect. Concomitant administration of voriconazole and fluconazole at any dose is not recommended. Close monitoring for adverse events related to voriconazole is recommended if voriconazole is used sequentially after fluconazole, especially within 24 hours of the last dose of fluconazole [see Warnings and Precautions (5.12)].

Minor or no significant pharmacokinetic interactions that do not require dosage adjustment:

Cimetidine (non-specific CYP450 inhibitor and increases gastric pH)–Cimetidine (400 mg every 12 hours × 8 days) increased voriconazole steady state Cmax and AUCτ by an average of 18% (90% CI: 6%, 32%) and 23% (90% CI: 13%, 33%), respectively, following oral doses of 200 mg every 12 hours × 7 days to healthy subjects.

Ranitidine (increases gastric pH)–Ranitidine (150 mg every 12 hours) had no significant effect on voriconazole Cmax and AUCτ following oral doses of 200 mg every 12 hours × 7 days to healthy subjects.

Macrolide antibiotics–Coadministration of erythromycin (CYP3A4 inhibitor; 1 gram every 12 hours for 7 days) or azithromycin (500 mg every 24 hours for 3 days) with voriconazole 200 mg every 12 hours for 14 days had no significant effect on voriconazole steady state Cmax and AUCτ in healthy subjects. The effects of voriconazole on the pharmacokinetics of either erythromycin or azithromycin are not known.

Effects of Voriconazole on Other Drugs

In vitro studies with human hepatic microsomes show that voriconazole inhibits the metabolic activity of the cytochrome P450 enzymes CYP2C19, CYP2C9, and CYP3A4. In these studies, the inhibition potency of voriconazole for CYP3A4 metabolic activity was significantly less than that of two other azoles, ketoconazole and itraconazole. In vitro studies also show that the major metabolite of voriconazole, voriconazole N-oxide, inhibits the metabolic activity of CYP2C9 and CYP3A4 to a greater extent than that of CYP2C19. Therefore, there is potential for voriconazole and its major metabolite to increase the systemic exposure (plasma concentrations) of other drugs metabolized by these CYP450 enzymes.

The systemic exposure of the following drugs is significantly increased or is expected to be significantly increased by coadministration of voriconazole and their use is contraindicated:

Sirolimus (CYP3A4 substrate)–Repeat dose administration of oral voriconazole (400 mg every 12 hours for 1 day, then 200 mg every 12 hours for 8 days) increased the Cmax and AUC of sirolimus (2 mg single dose) an average of 7-fold (90% CI: 5.7, 7.5) and 11-fold (90% CI: 9.9, 12.6), respectively, in healthy male subjects. Coadministration of voriconazole and sirolimus is contraindicated [see Contraindications (4) and Warnings and Precautions (5.12)].

Cisapride, pimozide and quinidine (CYP3A4 substrates)–Although not studied in vitro or in vivo, concomitant administration of voriconazole with cisapride, pimozide or quinidine may result in inhibition of the metabolism of these drugs. Increased plasma concentrations of these drugs can lead to QT prolongation and rare occurrences of torsade de pointes. Coadministration of voriconazole, cisapride, pimozide and quinidine is contraindicated [see Contraindications (4) and Warnings and Precautions (5.12)].

Ergot alkaloids–Although not studied in vitro or in vivo, voriconazole may increase the plasma concentration of ergot alkaloids (ergotamine and dihydroergotamine) and lead to ergotism. Coadministration of voriconazole with ergot alkaloids is contraindicated [see Contraindications (4) and Warnings and Precautions (5.12)].

Everolimus (CYP3A4 substrate, P-gp substrate)–Although not studied in vitro or in vivo, voriconazole may increase plasma concentrations of everolimus, which could potentially lead to exacerbation of everolimus toxicity. Currently there are insufficient data to allow dosing recommendations in this situation. Therefore, co-administration of voriconazole with everolimus is not recommended [see Drug Interactions (7)].

Coadministration of voriconazole with the following agents results in increased exposure or is expected to result in increased exposure to these drugs. Therefore, careful monitoring and/or dosage adjustment of these drugs is needed:

Alfentanil (CYP3A4 substrate)–Coadministration of multiple doses of oral voriconazole (400 mg every 12 hours on day 1, 200 mg every 12 hours on day 2) with a single 20 mcg/kg intravenous dose of alfentanil with concomitant naloxone resulted in a 6-fold increase in mean alfentanil AUC0–∞ and a 4-fold prolongation of mean alfentanil elimination half-life, compared to when alfentanil was given alone. An increase in the incidence of delayed and persistent alfentanil-associated nausea and vomiting during co-administration of voriconazole and alfentanil was also observed. Reduction in the dose of alfentanil or other opiates that are also metabolized by CYP3A4 (e.g., sufentanil), and extended close monitoring of patients for respiratory and other opiate-associated adverse events, may be necessary when any of these opiates is coadministered with voriconazole [see Warnings and Precautions (5.12)].

Fentanyl (CYP3A4 substrate): In an independent published study, concomitant use of voriconazole (400 mg every 12 hours on Day 1, then 200 mg every 12 hours on Day 2) with a single intravenous dose of fentanyl (5 µg/kg) resulted in an increase in the mean AUC0–∞ of fentanyl by 1.4-fold (range 0.81- to 2.04-fold). When voriconazole is co-administered with fentanyl IV, oral or transdermal dosage forms, extended and frequent monitoring of patients for respiratory depression and other fentanyl-associated adverse events is recommended, and fentanyl dosage should be reduced if warranted [see Warnings and Precautions (5.12)].

Oxycodone (CYP3A4 substrate): In an independent published study, coadministration of multiple doses of oral voriconazole (400 mg every 12 hours, on Day 1 followed by five doses of 200 mg every 12 hours on Days 2 to 4) with a single 10 mg oral dose of oxycodone on Day 3 resulted in an increase in the mean Cmax and AUC0–∞ of oxycodone by 1.7-fold (range 1.4- to 2.2-fold) and 3.6-fold (range 2.7- to 5.6-fold), respectively. The mean elimination half-life of oxycodone was also increased by 2.0-fold (range 1.4- to 2.5-fold). Voriconazole also increased the visual effects (heterophoria and miosis) of oxycodone. A reduction in oxycodone dosage may be needed during voriconazole treatment to avoid opioid related adverse effects. Extended and frequent monitoring for adverse effects associated with oxycodone and other long-acting opiates metabolized by CYP3A4 is recommended [see Warnings and Precautions (5.12)].

Cyclosporine (CYP3A4 substrate)–In stable renal transplant recipients receiving chronic cyclosporine therapy, concomitant administration of oral voriconazole (200 mg every 12 hours for 8 days) increased cyclosporine Cmax and AUCτ an average of 1.1 times (90% CI: 0.9, 1.41) and 1.7 times (90% CI: 1.5, 2.0), respectively, as compared to when cyclosporine was administered without voriconazole. When initiating therapy with voriconazole in patients already receiving cyclosporine, it is recommended that the cyclosporine dose be reduced to one-half of the original dose and followed with frequent monitoring of the cyclosporine blood levels. Increased cyclosporine levels have been associated with nephrotoxicity. When voriconazole is discontinued, cyclosporine levels should be frequently monitored and the dose increased as necessary [see Warnings and Precautions (5.12)].

Methadone (CYP3A4, CYP2C19, CYP2C9 substrate)–Repeat dose administration of oral voriconazole (400 mg every 12 hours for 1 day, then 200 mg every 12 hours for 4 days) increased the Cmax and AUCτ of pharmacologically active Rmethadone by 31% (90% CI: 22%, 40%) and 47% (90% CI: 38%, 57%), respectively, in subjects receiving a methadone maintenance dose (30–100 mg every 24 hours). The Cmax and AUC of (S)-methadone increased by 65% (90% CI: 53%, 79%) and 103% (90% CI: 85%, 124%), respectively. Increased plasma concentrations of methadone have been associated with toxicity including QT prolongation. Frequent monitoring for adverse events and toxicity related to methadone is recommended during coadministration. Dose reduction of methadone may be needed [see Warnings and Precautions (5.12)].

Tacrolimus (CYP3A4 substrate)–Repeat oral dose administration of voriconazole (400 mg every 12 hours × 1 day, then 200 mg every 12 hours × 6 days) increased tacrolimus (0.1 mg/kg single dose) Cmax and AUCτ in healthy subjects by an average of 2-fold (90% CI: 1.9, 2.5) and 3-fold (90% CI: 2.7, 3.8), respectively. When initiating therapy with voriconazole in patients already receiving tacrolimus, it is recommended that the tacrolimus dose be reduced to one-third of the original dose and followed with frequent monitoring of the tacrolimus blood levels. Increased tacrolimus levels have been associated with nephrotoxicity. When voriconazole is discontinued, tacrolimus levels should be carefully monitored and the dose increased as necessary [see Warnings and Precautions (5.12)].

Warfarin (CYP2C9 substrate)–Coadministration of voriconazole (300 mg every 12 hours × 12 days) with warfarin (30 mg single dose) significantly increased maximum prothrombin time by approximately 2 times that of placebo in healthy subjects. Close monitoring of prothrombin time or other suitable anticoagulation tests is recommended if warfarin and voriconazole are coadministered and the warfarin dose adjusted accordingly [see Warnings and Precautions (5.12)].

Oral Coumarin Anticoagulants (CYP2C9, CYP3A4 substrates)–Although not studied in vitro or in vivo, voriconazole may increase the plasma concentrations of coumarin anticoagulants and therefore may cause an increase in prothrombin time. If patients receiving coumarin preparations are treated simultaneously with voriconazole, the prothrombin time or other suitable anticoagulation tests should be monitored at close intervals and the dosage of anticoagulants adjusted accordingly [see Warnings and Precautions (5.12)].

Statins (CYP3A4 substrates)–Although not studied clinically, voriconazole has been shown to inhibit lovastatin metabolism in vitro (human liver microsomes). Therefore, voriconazole is likely to increase the plasma concentrations of statins that are metabolized by CYP3A4. It is recommended that dose adjustment of the statin be considered during coadministration. Increased statin concentrations in plasma have been associated with rhabdomyolysis [see Warnings and Precautions (5.12)].

Benzodiazepines (CYP3A4 substrates)–Although not studied clinically, voriconazole has been shown to inhibit midazolam metabolism in vitro (human liver microsomes). Therefore, voriconazole is likely to increase the plasma concentrations of benzodiazepines that are metabolized by CYP3A4 (e.g., midazolam, triazolam, and alprazolam) and lead to a prolonged sedative effect. It is recommended that dose adjustment of the benzodiazepine be considered during coadministration [see Warnings and Precautions (5.12)].

Calcium Channel Blockers (CYP3A4 substrates)–Although not studied clinically, voriconazole has been shown to inhibit felodipine metabolism in vitro (human liver microsomes). Therefore, voriconazole may increase the plasma concentrations of calcium channel blockers that are metabolized by CYP3A4. Frequent monitoring for adverse events and toxicity related to calcium channel blockers is recommended during coadministration. Dose adjustment of the calcium channel blocker may be needed [see Warnings and Precautions (5.12)].

Sulfonylureas (CYP2C9 substrates)–Although not studied in vitro or in vivo, voriconazole may increase plasma concentrations of sulfonylureas (e.g., tolbutamide, glipizide, and glyburide) and therefore cause hypoglycemia. Frequent monitoring of blood glucose and appropriate adjustment (i.e., reduction) of the sulfonylurea dosage is recommended during coadministration [see Warnings and Precautions (5.12)].

Vinca Alkaloids (CYP3A4 substrates)–Although not studied in vitro or in vivo, voriconazole may increase the plasma concentrations of the vinca alkaloids (e.g., vincristine and vinblastine) and lead to neurotoxicity. Therefore, reserve azole antifungals, including voriconazole, for patients receiving a vinca alkaloid, including vincristine, who have no alternative antifungal treatment options [see Warnings and Precautions (5.12)].

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs; CYP2C9 substrates): In two independent published studies, single doses of ibuprofen (400 mg) and diclofenac (50 mg) were coadministered with the last dose of voriconazole (400 mg every 12 hours on Day 1, followed by 200 mg every 12 hours on Day 2). Voriconazole increased the mean Cmax and AUC of the pharmacologically active isomer, S (+)-ibuprofen by 20% and 100%, respectively. Voriconazole increased the mean Cmax and AUC of diclofenac by 114% and 78%, respectively.

A reduction in ibuprofen and diclofenac dosage may be needed during concomitant administration with voriconazole. Patients receiving voriconazole concomitantly with other NSAIDs (e.g., celecoxib, naproxen, lornoxicam, meloxicam) that are also metabolized by CYP2C9 should be carefully monitored for NSAID-related adverse events and toxicity, and dosage reduction should be made if warranted [see Warnings and Precautions (5.12)].

No significant pharmacokinetic interactions were observed when voriconazole was coadministered with the following agents. Therefore, no dosage adjustment for these agents is recommended:

Prednisolone (CYP3A4 substrate)–Voriconazole (200 mg every 12 hours × 30 days) increased Cmax and AUC of prednisolone (60 mg single dose) by an average of 11% and 34%, respectively, in healthy subjects.

Digoxin (P-glycoprotein mediated transport)–Voriconazole (200 mg every 12 hours × 12 days) had no significant effect on steady state Cmax and AUCτ of digoxin (0.25 mg once daily for 10 days) in healthy subjects.

Mycophenolic acid (UDP-glucuronyl transferase substrate)–Voriconazole (200 mg every 12 hours × 5 days) had no significant effect on the Cmax and AUCτ of mycophenolic acid and its major metabolite, mycophenolic acid glucuronide after administration of a 1 gram single oral dose of mycophenolate mofetil.

Two-Way Interactions

Concomitant use of the following agents with voriconazole is contraindicated:

Rifabutin (potent CYP450 inducer)–Rifabutin (300 mg once daily) decreased the Cmax and AUCτ of voriconazole at 200 mg twice daily by an average of 67% (90% CI: 58%, 73%) and 79% (90% CI: 71%, 84%), respectively, in healthy subjects. During coadministration with rifabutin (300 mg once daily), the steady state Cmax and AUCτ of voriconazole following an increased dose of 400 mg twice daily were on average approximately 2 times higher, compared with voriconazole alone at 200 mg twice daily. Coadministration of voriconazole at 400 mg twice daily with rifabutin 300 mg twice daily increased the Cmax and AUCτ of rifabutin by an average of 3-times (90% CI: 2.2, 4.0) and 4 times (90% CI: 3.5, 5.4), respectively, compared to rifabutin given alone. Coadministration of voriconazole and rifabutin is contraindicated [see Contraindications (4)].

Significant drug interactions that may require dosage adjustment, frequent monitoring of drug levels and/or frequent monitoring of drug-related adverse events/toxicity:

Efavirenz, a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (CYP450 inducer; CYP3A4 inhibitor and substrate)–Standard doses of voriconazole and efavirenz (400 mg every 24 hours or higher) must not be coadministered [see Drug Interactions (7)]. Steady state efavirenz (400 mg PO every 24 hours) decreased the steady state Cmax and AUCτ of voriconazole (400 mg PO every 12 hours for 1 day, then 200 mg PO every 12 hours for 8 days) by an average of 61% and 77%, respectively, in healthy male subjects. Voriconazole at steady state (400 mg PO every 12 hours for 1 day, then 200 mg every 12 hours for 8 days) increased the steady state Cmax and AUCτ of efavirenz (400 mg PO every 24 hours for 9 days) by an average of 38% and 44%, respectively, in healthy subjects.

The pharmacokinetics of adjusted doses of voriconazole and efavirenz were studied in healthy male subjects following administration of voriconazole (400 mg PO every 12 hours on Days 2 to 7) with efavirenz (300 mg PO every 24 hours on Days 1–7), relative to steady state administration of voriconazole (400 mg for 1 day, then 200 mg PO every 12 hours for 2 days) or efavirenz (600 mg every 24 hours for 9 days). Coadministration of voriconazole 400 mg every 12 hours with efavirenz 300 mg every 24 hours, decreased voriconazole AUCτ by 7% (90% CI: -23%, 13%) and increased Cmax by 23% (90% CI: -1%, 53%); efavirenz AUCτ was increased by 17% (90% CI: 6%, 29%) and Cmax was equivalent.

Coadministration of standard doses of voriconazole and efavirenz (400 mg every 24 hours or higher) is contraindicated. Voriconazole may be coadministered with efavirenz if the voriconazole maintenance dose is increased to 400 mg every 12 hours and the efavirenz dose is decreased to 300 mg every 24 hours. When treatment with voriconazole is stopped, the initial dosage of efavirenz should be restored [see Dosage and Administration (2.7), Contraindications (4), and Drug Interactions (7)].

Phenytoin (CYP2C9 substrate and potent CYP450 inducer)–Repeat dose administration of phenytoin (300 mg once daily) decreased the steady state Cmax and AUCτ of orally administered voriconazole (200 mg every 12 hours × 14 days) by an average of 50% and 70%, respectively, in healthy subjects. Administration of a higher voriconazole dose (400 mg every 12 hours × 7 days) with phenytoin (300 mg once daily) resulted in comparable steady state voriconazole Cmax and AUCτ estimates as compared to when voriconazole was given at 200 mg every 12 hours without phenytoin.

Phenytoin may be coadministered with voriconazole if the maintenance dose of voriconazole is increased from 4 mg/kg to 5 mg/kg intravenously every 12 hours or from 200 mg to 400 mg orally, every 12 hours (100 mg to 200 mg orally, every 12 hours in patients less than 40 kg) [see Dosage and Administration (2.7) and Drug Interactions (7)].

Repeat dose administration of voriconazole (400 mg every 12 hours × 10 days) increased the steady state Cmax and AUCτ of phenytoin (300 mg once daily) by an average of 70% and 80%, respectively, in healthy subjects. The increase in phenytoin Cmax and AUC when coadministered with voriconazole may be expected to be as high as 2 times the Cmax and AUC estimates when phenytoin is given without voriconazole. Therefore, frequent monitoring of plasma phenytoin concentrations and phenytoin-related adverse effects is recommended when phenytoin is coadministered with voriconazole [see Warnings and Precautions (5.12)].

Omeprazole (CYP2C19 inhibitor; CYP2C19 and CYP3A4 substrate)–Coadministration of omeprazole (40 mg once daily × 10 days) with oral voriconazole (400 mg every 12 hours × 1 day, then 200 mg every 12 hours × 9 days) increased the steady state Cmax and AUCτ of voriconazole by an average of 15% (90% CI: 5%, 25%) and 40% (90% CI: 29%, 55%), respectively, in healthy subjects. No dosage adjustment of voriconazole is recommended.

Coadministration of voriconazole (400 mg every 12 hours × 1 day, then 200 mg × 6 days) with omeprazole (40 mg once daily × 7 days) to healthy subjects significantly increased the steady state Cmax and AUCτ of omeprazole an average of 2 times (90% CI: 1.8, 2.6) and 4 times (90% CI: 3.3, 4.4), respectively, as compared to when omeprazole is given without voriconazole. When initiating voriconazole in patients already receiving omeprazole doses of 40 mg or greater, it is recommended that the omeprazole dose be reduced by one-half [see Warnings and Precautions (5.12)].

The metabolism of other proton pump inhibitors that are CYP2C19 substrates may also be inhibited by voriconazole and may result in increased plasma concentrations of these drugs.

Oral Contraceptives (CYP3A4 substrate; CYP2C19 inhibitor)–Coadministration of oral voriconazole (400 mg every 12 hours for 1 day, then 200 mg every 12 hours for 3 days) and oral contraceptive (Ortho-Novum1/35® consisting of 35 mcg ethinyl estradiol and 1 mg norethindrone, every 24 hours) to healthy female subjects at steady state increased the Cmax and AUCτ of ethinyl estradiol by an average of 36% (90% CI: 28%, 45%) and 61% (90% CI: 50%, 72%), respectively, and that of norethindrone by 15% (90% CI: 3%, 28%) and 53% (90% CI: 44%, 63%), respectively in healthy subjects. Voriconazole Cmax and AUCτ increased by an average of 14% (90% CI: 3%, 27%) and 46% (90% CI: 32%, 61%), respectively. Monitoring for adverse events related to oral contraceptives, in addition to those for voriconazole, is recommended during coadministration [see Warnings and Precautions (5.12)].

No significant pharmacokinetic interaction was seen and no dosage adjustment of these drugs is recommended:

Indinavir (CYP3A4 inhibitor and substrate)–Repeat dose administration of indinavir (800 mg TID for 10 days) had no significant effect on voriconazole Cmax and AUC following repeat dose administration (200 mg every 12 hours for 17 days) in healthy subjects.

Repeat dose administration of voriconazole (200 mg every 12 hours for 7 days) did not have a significant effect on steady state Cmax and AUCτ of indinavir following repeat dose administration (800 mg TID for 7 days) in healthy subjects.

Other Two-Way Interactions Expected to be Significant Based on In Vitro and In Vivo Findings:

Other HIV Protease Inhibitors (CYP3A4 substrates and inhibitors)In vitro studies (human liver microsomes) suggest that voriconazole may inhibit the metabolism of HIV protease inhibitors (e.g., saquinavir, amprenavir and nelfinavir). In vitro studies (human liver microsomes) also show that the metabolism of voriconazole may be inhibited by HIV protease inhibitors (e.g., saquinavir and amprenavir). Patients should be frequently monitored for drug toxicity during the coadministration of voriconazole and HIV protease inhibitors [see Warnings and Precautions (5.12)].

Other Non-Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors (NNRTIs) (CYP3A4 substrates, inhibitors or CYP450 inducers)In vitro studies (human liver microsomes) show that the metabolism of voriconazole may be inhibited by a NNRTI (e.g., delavirdine). The findings of a clinical voriconazole-efavirenz drug interaction study in healthy male subjects suggest that the metabolism of voriconazole may be induced by a NNRTI. This in vivo study also showed that voriconazole may inhibit the metabolism of a NNRTI [see Drug Interactions (7) and Warnings and Precautions (5.1)]. Patients should be frequently monitored for drug toxicity during the coadministration of voriconazole and other NNRTIs (e.g., nevirapine and delavirdine) [see Warnings and Precautions (5.12)]. Dose adjustments are required when voriconazole is co-administered with efavirenz [see Drug Interactions (7) and Warnings and Precautions (5.12)].

12.4 Microbiology

Mechanism of Action

Voriconazole is an azole antifungal drug. The primary mode of action of voriconazole is the inhibition of fungal cytochrome P-450-mediated 14 alpha-lanosterol demethylation, an essential step in fungal ergosterol biosynthesis. The accumulation of 14 alpha-methyl sterols correlates with the subsequent loss of ergosterol in the fungal cell wall and may be responsible for the antifungal activity of voriconazole.

Resistance

A potential for development of resistance to voriconazole is well known. The mechanisms of resistance may include mutations in the gene ERG11 (encodes for the target enzyme, lanosterol 14-α-demethylase), upregulation of genes encoding the ATP-binding cassette efflux transporters i.e., Candida drug resistance (CDR) pumps and reduced access of the drug to the target, or some combination of those mechanisms. The frequency of drug resistance development for the various fungi for which this drug is indicated is not known.

Fungal isolates exhibiting reduced susceptibility to fluconazole or itraconazole may also show reduced susceptibility to voriconazole, suggesting cross-resistance can occur among these azoles. The relevance of cross-resistance and clinical outcome has not been fully characterized. Clinical cases where azole cross-resistance is demonstrated may require alternative antifungal therapy.

Antimicrobial Activity

Voriconazole has been shown to be active against most isolates of the following microorganisms, both in vitro and in clinical infections.

Aspergillus fumigatus
Aspergillus flavus
Aspergillus niger
Aspergillus terreus
Candida albicans
Candida glabrata
(In clinical studies, the voriconazole MIC90 was 4 µg/mL)1
Candida krusei
Candida parapsilosis
Candida tropicalis
Fusarium
spp. including Fusarium solani
Scedosporium apiospermum

The following data are available, but their clinical significance is unknown. At least 90 percent of the following fungi exhibit an in vitro minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) less than or equal to the susceptible breakpoint for voriconazole against isolates of similar genus or organism group. However, the effectiveness of voriconazole in treating clinical infections due to these fungi has not been established in adequate and well-controlled clinical trials:

Candida lusitaniae
Candida guilliermondii


1
In clinical studies, voriconazole MIC90 for C. glabrata baseline isolates was 4 µg/mL; 13/50 (26%) C. glabrata baseline isolates were resistant (MIC ≥4 µg/mL) to voriconazole. However, based on 1054 isolates tested in surveillance studies the MIC90 was 1 µg/mL.

Susceptibility Testing

For specific information regarding susceptibility test interpretive criteria and associated test methods and quality control standards recognized by FDA for this drug, please see: https://www.fda.gov/STIC.

12.5 Pharmacogenomics

CYP2C19, significantly involved in the metabolism of voriconazole, exhibits genetic polymorphism. Approximately 15–20% of Asian populations may be expected to be poor metabolizers. For Caucasians and Blacks, the prevalence of poor metabolizers is 3–5%. Studies conducted in Caucasian and Japanese healthy subjects have shown that poor metabolizers have, on average, 4-fold higher voriconazole exposure (AUCτ) than their homozygous extensive metabolizer counterparts. Subjects who are heterozygous extensive metabolizers have, on average, 2-fold higher voriconazole exposure than their homozygous extensive metabolizer counterparts [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].

What's New

No Current Announcements.

Contact Pfizer Medical

Search

Please enter your search term(s) for VFEND®