Pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic profile of voriconazole

Clin Pharmacokinet. 2006;45(7):649-63. doi: 10.2165/00003088-200645070-00002.


Voriconazole is the first available second-generation triazole with potent activity against a broad spectrum of clinically significant fungal pathogens, including Aspergillus,Candida, Cryptococcus neoformans, and some less common moulds. Voriconazole is rapidly absorbed within 2 hours after oral administration and the oral bioavailability is over 90%, thus allowing switching between oral and intravenous formulations when clinically appropriate. Voriconazole shows nonlinear pharmacokinetics due to its capacity-limited elimination, and its pharmacokinetics are therefore dependent upon the administered dose. With increasing dose, voriconazole shows a superproportional increase in area under the plasma concentration-time curve (AUC). In doses used in children (age < 12 years) voriconazole pharmacokinetics appear to be linear. Steady-state plasma concentrations are reached approximately 5 days after both intravenous and oral administration; however, steady state is reached within 24 hours with voriconazole administered as an intravenous loading dose. The volume of distribution of voriconazole is 2-4.6 L/kg, suggesting extensive distribution into extracellular and intracellular compartments. Voriconazole was measured in tissue samples of brain, liver, kidney, heart, lung as well as cerebrospinal fluid. The plasma protein binding is about 60% and independent of dose or plasma concentrations. Clearance is hepatic via N-oxidation by the hepatic cytochrome P450 (CYP) isoenzymes, CYP2C19, CYP2C9 and CYP3A4. The elimination half-life of voriconazole is approximately 6 hours, and approximately 80% of the total dose is recovered in the urine, almost completely as metabolites. As with other azole drugs, the potential for drug interactions is considerable. Voriconazole shows time-dependent fungistatic activity against Candida species and time-dependent slow fungicidal activity against Aspergillus species. A short post-antifungal effect of voriconazole is evident only for Aspergillus species. The predictive pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic parameter for voriconazole treatment efficacy in Candida infections is the free drug AUC from 0 to 24 hour : minimum inhibitory concentration ratio.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antifungal Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antifungal Agents / adverse effects
  • Antifungal Agents / pharmacokinetics*
  • Antifungal Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Biotransformation
  • Drug Interactions
  • Fungi / drug effects
  • Half-Life
  • Humans
  • Mycoses / drug therapy*
  • Mycoses / microbiology
  • Protein Binding
  • Pyrimidines / administration & dosage
  • Pyrimidines / adverse effects
  • Pyrimidines / pharmacokinetics*
  • Pyrimidines / therapeutic use*
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Triazoles / administration & dosage
  • Triazoles / adverse effects
  • Triazoles / pharmacokinetics*
  • Triazoles / therapeutic use*
  • Voriconazole


  • Antifungal Agents
  • Pyrimidines
  • Triazoles
  • Voriconazole