Fluconazole (Page 4 of 9)

Activity In Vivo

Fungistatic activity has also been demonstrated in normal and immunocompromised animal models for systemic and intracranial fungal infections due to Cryptococcus neoformans and for systemic infections due to Candida albicans.

In common with other azole antifungal agents, most fungi show a higher apparent sensitivity to fluconazole in vivo than in vitro. Fluconazole administered orally and/or intravenously was active in a variety of animal models of fungal infection using standard laboratory strains of fungi. Activity has been demonstrated against fungal infections caused by Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus fumigatus in normal mice. Fluconazole has also been shown to be active in animal models of endemic mycoses, including one model of Blastomyces dermatitidis pulmonary infections in normal mice; one model of Coccidioides immitis intracranial infections in normal mice; and several models of Histoplasma capsulatum pulmonary infection in normal and immunosuppressed mice. The clinical significance of results obtained in these studies is unknown.

Oral fluconazole has been shown to be active in an animal model of vaginal candidiasis.

Concurrent administration of fluconazole and amphotericin B in infected normal and immunosuppressed mice showed the following results: a small additive antifungal effect in systemic infection with C. albicans, no interaction in intracranial infection with Cryptococcus neoformans, and antagonism of the two drugs in systemic infection with A. fumigatus. The clinical significance of results obtained in these studies is unknown.

Drug Resistance

Fluconazole resistance may arise from a modification in the quality or quantity of the target enzyme (lanosterol 14-α-demethylase), reduced access to the drug target, or some combination of these mechanisms.

Point mutations in the gene (ERG11) encoding for the target enzyme lead to an altered target with decreased affinity for azoles. Overexpression of ERG11 results in the production of high concentrations of the target enzyme, creating the need for higher intracellular drug concentrations to inhibit all of the enzyme molecules in the cell.

The second major mechanism of drug resistance involves active efflux of fluconazole out of the cell through the activation of two types of multidrug efflux transporters; the major facilitators (encoded by MDR genes) and those of the ATP-binding cassette superfamily (encoded by CDR genes). Upregulation of the MDR gene leads to fluconazole resistance, whereas, upregulation of CDR genes may lead to resistance to multiple azoles.

Resistance in Candida glabrata usually includes upregulation of CDR genes resulting in resistance to multiple azoles. For an isolate where the MIC is categorized as Intermediate (16 to 32 μg/mL), the highest fluconazole dose is recommended.

Candida krusei should be considered to be resistant to fluconazole. Resistance in C. krusei appears to be mediated by reduced sensitivity of the target enzyme to inhibition by the agent.

There have been reports of cases of superinfection with Candida species other than C. albicans, which are often inherently not susceptible to fluconazole (e.g., Candida krusei). Such cases may require alternative antifungal therapy.

INDICATIONS AND USAGE

Fluconazole is indicated for the treatment of:

  1. Vaginal candidiasis (vaginal yeast infections due to Candida).
  2. Oropharyngeal and esophageal candidiasis. In open noncomparative studies of relatively small numbers of patients, fluconazole was also effective for the treatment of Candida urinary tract infections, peritonitis, and systemic Candida infections including candidemia, disseminated candidiasis, and pneumonia.
  3. Cryptococcal meningitis. Before prescribing fluconazole for AIDS patients with cryptococcal meningitis, please see CLINICAL STUDIES section. Studies comparing fluconazole to amphotericin B in non-HIV infected patients have not been conducted.

Prophylaxis. Fluconazole is also indicated to decrease the incidence of candidiasis in patients undergoing bone marrow transplantation who receive cytotoxic chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy.

Specimens for fungal culture and other relevant laboratory studies (serology, histopathology) should be obtained prior to therapy to isolate and identify causative organisms. Therapy may be instituted before the results of the cultures and other laboratory studies are known; however, once these results become available, anti-infective therapy should be adjusted accordingly.

CLINICAL STUDIES

Cryptococcal meningitis: In a multicenter study comparing fluconazole (200 mg/day) to amphotericin B (0.3 mg/kg/day) for treatment of cryptococcal meningitis in patients with AIDS, a multivariate analysis revealed three pretreatment factors that predicted death during the course of therapy: abnormal mental status, cerebrospinal fluid cryptococcal antigen titer greater than 1:1024, and cerebrospinal fluid white blood cell count of less than 20 cells/mm3. Mortality among high risk patients was 33% and 40% for amphotericin B and fluconazole patients, respectively (p=0.58), with overall deaths 14% (9 of 63 subjects) and 18% (24 of 131 subjects) for the 2 arms of the study (p =0.48). Optimal doses and regimens for patients with acute cryptococcal meningitis and at high risk for treatment failure remain to be determined. (Saag, et al. N Engl J Med 1992; 326:83-9.)

Vaginal candidiasis: Two adequate and well-controlled studies were conducted in the U.S. using the 150 mg tablet. In both, the results of the fluconazole regimen were comparable to the control regimen (clotrimazole or miconazole intravaginally for 7 days) both clinically and statistically at the one month post-treatment evaluation.

The therapeutic cure rate, defined as a complete resolution of signs and symptoms of vaginal candidiasis (clinical cure), along with a negative KOH examination and negative culture for Candida (microbiologic eradication), was 55% in both the fluconazole group and the vaginal products group.

Fluconazole PO 150 mg tablet Vaginal Product qhs x 7 days
Enrolled 448 422
Evaluable at Late Follow-up 347 (77%) 327 (77%)
Clinical cure 239/347 (69%) 235/327 (72%)
Mycologic erad. 213/347 (61%) 196/327 (60%)
Therapeutic cure 190/347 (55%) 179/327 (55%)

Approximately three-fourths of the enrolled patients had acute vaginitis (<4 episodes/12 months) and achieved 80% clinical cure, 67% mycologic eradication and 59% therapeutic cure when treated with a 150 mg fluconazole tablet administered orally. These rates were comparable to control products. The remaining one-fourth of enrolled patients had recurrent vaginitis (≥4 episodes/12 months) and achieved 57% clinical cure, 47% mycologic eradication and 40% therapeutic cure. The numbers are too small to make meaningful clinical or statistical comparisons with vaginal products in the treatment of patients with recurrent vaginitis.

Substantially more gastrointestinal events were reported in the fluconazole group compared to the vaginal product group. Most of the events were mild to moderate. Because fluconazole was given as a single dose, no discontinuations occurred.

Parameter Fluconazole PO Vaginal Products
Evaluable patients 448 422
With any adverse event 141 (31%) 112 (27%)
Nervous System 90 (20%) 69 (16%)
Gastrointestinal 73 (16%) 18 (4%)
With drug-related event 117 (26%) 67 (16%)
Nervous System 61 (14%) 29 (7%)
Headache 58 (13%) 28 (7%)
Gastrointestinal 68 (15%) 13 (3%)
Abdominal pain 25 (6%) 7 (2%)
Nausea 30 (7%) 3 (1%)
Diarrhea 12 (3%) 2 (<1%)
Application site event 0 (0%) 19 (5%)
Taste Perversion 6 (1%) 0 (0%)

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