Itraconazole (Page 5 of 8)

Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, and Impairment of Fertility:

Itraconazole showed no evidence of carcinogenicity potential in mice treated orally for 23 months at dosage levels up to 80 mg/kg/day (approximately 10 times the maximum recommended human dose [MRHD]). Male rats treated with 25 mg/kg/day (3.1 times the MRHD) had a slightly increased incidence of soft tissue sarcoma. These sarcomas may have been a consequence of hypercholesterolemia, which is a response of rats, but not dogs or humans, to chronic itraconazole administration. Female rats treated with 50 mg/kg/day (6.25 times the MRHD) had an increased incidence of squamous cell carcinoma of the lung (2/50) as compared to the untreated group. Although the occurrence of squamous cell carcinoma in the lung is extremely uncommon in untreated rats, the increase in this study was not statistically significant.

Itraconazole produced no mutagenic effects when assayed in DNA repair test (unscheduled DNA synthesis) in primary rat hepatocytes, in Ames tests with Salmonella typhimurium (6 strains) and Escherichia coli , in the mouse lymphoma gene mutation tests, in a sex-linked recessive lethal mutation ( Drosophila melanogaster) test, in chromosome aberration tests in human lymphocytes, in a cell transformation test with C3H/10T½ C18 mouse embryo fibroblasts cells, in a dominant lethal mutation test in male and female mice, and in micronucleus tests in mice and rats.

Itraconazole did not affect the fertility of male or female rats treated orally with dosage levels of up to 40 mg/kg/day (5 times the MRHD), even though parental toxicity was present at this dosage level. More severe signs of parental toxicity, including death, were present in the next higher dosage level, 160 mg/kg/day (20 times the MRHD).

Pregnancy: Teratogenic effects:

Itraconazole was found to cause a dose-related increase in maternal toxicity, embryotoxicity, and teratogenicity in rats at dosage levels of approximately 40 to 160 mg/kg/day (5 to 20 times the MRHD), and in mice at dosage levels of approximately 80 mg/kg/day (10 times the MRHD). Itraconazole has been shown to cross the placenta in a rat model. In rats, the teratogenicity consisted of major skeletal defects; in mice, it consisted of encephaloceles and/or macroglossia.

There are no studies in pregnant women. Itraconazole should be used for the treatment of systemic fungal infections in pregnancy only if the benefit outweighs the potential risk.

Itraconazole should not be administered for the treatment of onychomycosis to pregnant patients or to women contemplating pregnancy. Itraconazole should not be administered to women of childbearing potential for the treatment of onychomycosis unless they are using effective measures to prevent pregnancy and they begin therapy on the second or third day following the onset of menses. Highly effective contraception should be continued throughout itraconazole therapy and for 2 months following the end of treatment.

During post-marketing experience, cases of congenital abnormalities have been reported. (See ADVERSE REACTIONS: Post-marketing Experience.)

Nursing Mothers:

Itraconazole is excreted in human milk; therefore, the expected benefits of itraconazole therapy for the mother should be weighed against the potential risk from exposure of itraconazole to the infant. The U.S. Public Health Service Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises HIV-infected women not to breast-feed to avoid potential transmission of HIV to uninfected infants.

Pediatric Use:

The efficacy and safety of itraconazole have not been established in pediatric patients.

The long-term effects of itraconazole on bone growth in children are unknown. In three toxicology studies using rats, itraconazole induced bone defects at dosage levels as low as 20 mg/kg/day (2.5 times the MRHD). The induced defects included reduced bone plate activity, thinning of the zona compacta of the large bones, and increased bone fragility. At a dosage level of 80 mg/kg/day (10 times the MRHD) over 1 year or 160 mg/kg/day (20 times the MRHD) for 6 months, itraconazole induced small tooth pulp with hypocellular appearance in some rats.

Geriatric Use:

Clinical studies of itraconazole capsules did not include sufficient numbers of subjects aged 65 years and over to determine whether they respond differently from younger subjects. It is advised to use itraconazole capsules in these patients only if it is determined that the potential benefit outweighs the potential risks. In general, it is recommended that the dose selection for an elderly patient should be taken into consideration, reflecting the greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal, or cardiac function, and of concomitant disease or other drug therapy.

Transient or permanent hearing loss has been reported in elderly patients receiving treatment with itraconazole. Several of these reports included concurrent administration of quinidine which is contraindicated (see BOXED WARNING: Drug Interactions, CONTRAINDICATIONS: Drug Interactions and PRECAUTIONS: Drug Interactions).

HIV-Infected Patients:

Because hypochlorhydria has been reported in HIV-infected individuals, the absorption of itraconazole in these patients may be decreased.

Renal Impairment:

Limited data are available on the use of oral itraconazole in patients with renal impairment. The exposure of itraconazole may be lower in some patients with renal impairment. Caution should be exercised when itraconazole is administered in this patient population and dose adjustment may be needed. (See CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY: Special Populations and DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION.)

Hepatic Impairment:

Limited data are available on the use of oral itraconazole in patients with hepatic impairment. Caution should be exercised when this drug is administered in this patient population. It is recommended that patients with impaired hepatic function be carefully monitored when taking itraconazole. It is recommended that the prolonged elimination half-life of itraconazole observed in the single oral dose clinical trial with itraconazole capsules in cirrhotic patients be considered when deciding to initiate therapy with other medications metabolized by CYP3A4.

In patients with elevated or abnormal liver enzymes or active liver disease, or who have experienced liver toxicity with other drugs, treatment with itraconazole is strongly discouraged unless there is a serious or life-threatening situation where the expected benefit exceeds the risk. It is recommended that liver function monitoring be done in patients with pre-existing hepatic function abnormalities or those who have experienced liver toxicity with other medications. (See CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY: Special Populations and DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION.)


Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical trials of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical trials of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in clinical practice.

Itraconazole has been associated with rare cases of serious hepatotoxicity, including liver failure and death. Some of these cases had neither pre-existing liver disease nor a serious underlying medical condition. If clinical signs or symptoms develop that are consistent with liver disease, treatment should be discontinued and liver function testing performed. The risks and benefits of itraconazole use should be reassessed. (See WARNINGS: Hepatic Effects and PRECAUTIONS: Hepatotoxicity and Information for Patients.)

Adverse Events in the Treatment of Systemic Fungal Infections

Adverse event data were derived from 602 patients treated for systemic fungal disease in U.S. clinical trials who were immunocompromised or receiving multiple concomitant medications. Treatment was discontinued in 10.5% of patients due to adverse events. The median duration before discontinuation of therapy was 81 days (range: 2 to 776 days). The table lists adverse events reported by at least 1% of patients.

Table 3: Clinical Trials of Systemic Fungal Infections: Adverse Events Occurring with an Incidence of Greater than or Equal to 1%

*Rash tends to occur more frequently in immunocompromised patients receiving immunosuppressive medications.

Body System/Adverse Event Incidence (%) (N=602)
Gastrointestinal Nausea Vomiting Diarrhea Abdominal Pain Anorexia 11 5 3 2 1
Body as a Whole Edema Fatigue Fever Malaise 4 3 3 1
Skin and Appendages Rash* Pruritus 9 3
Central/Peripheral Nervous System Headache Dizziness 4 2
Psychiatric Libido Decreased Somnolence 1 1
Cardiovascular Hypertension 3
Metabolic/Nutritional Hypokalemia 2
Urinary System Albuminuria 1
Liver and Biliary System Hepatic Function Abnormal 3
Reproductive System, Male Impotence 1

Adverse events infrequently reported in all studies included constipation, gastritis, depression, insomnia, tinnitus, menstrual disorder, adrenal insufficiency, gynecomastia, and male breast pain.

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