Dried Blood Spot Analysis Suitable for Therapeutic Drug Monitoring of Voriconazole, Fluconazole, and Posaconazole

Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2013 Oct;57(10):4999-5004. doi: 10.1128/AAC.00707-13. Epub 2013 Jul 29.


Invasive aspergillosis and candidemia are important causes of morbidity and mortality in immunocompromised and critically ill patients. The triazoles voriconazole, fluconazole, and posaconazole are widely used for the treatment and prophylaxis of these fungal infections. Due to the variability of the pharmacokinetics of the triazoles among and within individual patients, therapeutic drug monitoring is important for optimizing the efficacy and safety of antifungal treatment. A dried blood spot (DBS) analysis was developed and was clinically validated for voriconazole, fluconazole, and posaconazole in 28 patients. Furthermore, a questionnaire was administered to evaluate the patients' opinions of the sampling method. The DBS analytical method showed linearity over the concentration range measured for all triazoles. Results for accuracy and precision were within accepted ranges; samples were stable at room temperature for at least 12 days; and different hematocrit values and blood spot volumes had no significant influence. The ratio of the drug concentration in DBS samples to that in plasma was 1.0 for voriconazole and fluconazole and 0.9 for posaconazole. Sixty percent of the patients preferred DBS analysis as a sampling method; 15% preferred venous blood sampling; and 25% had no preferred method. There was significantly less perception of pain with the DBS sampling method (P = 0.021). In conclusion, DBS analysis is a reliable alternative to venous blood sampling and can be used for therapeutic drug monitoring of voriconazole, fluconazole, and posaconazole. Patients were satisfied with DBS sampling and had less pain than with venous sampling. Most patients preferred DBS sampling to venous blood sampling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antifungal Agents / blood*
  • Antifungal Agents / therapeutic use
  • Aspergillosis / drug therapy
  • Dried Blood Spot Testing / methods
  • Drug Monitoring / methods*
  • Fluconazole / blood*
  • Fluconazole / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Mucormycosis / drug therapy
  • Mycoses / drug therapy
  • Triazoles / blood*
  • Triazoles / therapeutic use
  • Young Adult


  • Antifungal Agents
  • Triazoles
  • posaconazole
  • Fluconazole