Clinical pharmacokinetics of fluconazole

Clin Pharmacokinet. 1993 Jan;24(1):10-27. doi: 10.2165/00003088-199324010-00002.


Fluconazole was recently developed for the treatment of superficial and systemic fungal infections. Triazole groups and insertion of 2 fluoride atoms increase the polarity and hydrosolubility of the drug, allowing it to be used in a parenteral form. Bioassay methods using Candida pseudotropicalis as a test organism were the first techniques used for the determination of fluconazole in body fluids. Gas chromatographic and high performance liquid chromatographic methods were later developed with better accuracy and sensitivity. Prediction of efficacious concentrations in patients from the minimum inhibitory concentrations in vitro seems to be uncertain because of low efficacy of the drug on some yeasts in vitro compared with efficacy in vivo in animal models. Oral forms (capsule and solution) are quickly absorbed and bioavailability is nearly complete (about 90%). Plasma protein binding is low (11 to 12%) and fluconazole circulates as active drug. Distribution is extensive throughout the tissues and allows the treatment of a variety of systemic fungal infections. The average elimination half-life (t1/2) of 31.6 +/- 4.9h is long, with a minimum of 6 days needed to reach steady-state; thus, a loading dose (equal to double the maintenance dose) is recommended. The metabolism of fluconazole is not qualitatively or quantitatively significant. The main route of elimination is renal. The mean +/- SD (calculated from published data) total and renal clearance values are 19.5 +/- 4.7 and 14.7 +/- 3.7 ml/min (1.17 +/- 0.28 and 0.88 +/- 0.22 L/h), respectively. Concentrations of fluconazole in blood after administration of single doses correlated well with the administered dose. There was very little interassay variation between the data reported in literature. Concentrations in blood after multiple doses also exhibit little variation and the accumulation factor was between 2.1 and 2.8. Fluconazole was found in many body fluids, especially in cerebrospinal fluid and dialysis fluid, allowing the treatment of systemic fungal infections such as coccidioidal meningitis and fungal peritonitis. Concentrations of 1 to 3 mg/L and 20 mg/L are the extreme values expected in clinical practice. In renal insufficiency the fluconazole t1/2 is longer, requiring dosage adjustment in relation to creatinine clearance. In continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis a 150mg dose in a 2L dialysis solution every 2 days has been proposed. In haemodialysis, a dose of 100 or 200mg should be given at the end of each dialysis session. Neither old age nor irradiation affect fluconazole pharmacokinetics, but the t1/2 was shorter in children.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Fluconazole / adverse effects
  • Fluconazole / chemistry
  • Fluconazole / pharmacokinetics*
  • Fluconazole / therapeutic use
  • Humans


  • Fluconazole