Itraconazole


Background

Itraconazole is an anti-fungal oral medication. Itraconazole works by inhibiting the fungal enzymes that produce ergosterol, an important component of the fungal cell wall. Without adequate ergosterol, the fungal cell becomes weak, leaky, and ultimately dies. Its potential for side effects is far lower compared to other anti-fungals.

Fungal infections for which Itraconazole can be used include dermatophytosis (ringworm), yeast skin infection, and deep fungal infections.

Side Effects

  • The chief reason for choosing Itraconazole over other anti-fungal agents is to avoid side effects. This is especially true for use in cats.
  • Side effects such as appetite loss, vomiting, and/or diarrhoea may occur. If they occur, medication should be discontinued and blood testing for liver enzyme evaluation should be performed.

Interactions with Other Drugs

The use of Itraconazole in combination with antacids such as Pepsid, Zantac, or cimetidine and omeprazole will lead Itraconazole to be less effective. If it must be used with these medications, it is recommended that at least 2 hours pass between the antacid administration and the administration of Itraconazole.

Concerns and Cautions

  • Itraconazole should not be given to patients with known liver disease if possible. Appetite loss in particular is felt to be important sign of liver toxicity.
  • If an adverse side effect occurs, it is expected to resolve with discontinuation of the medication. After recovery, Itraconazole can usually be restarted at a lower dose.

Veterinarian’s Comment

  • While Itraconazole is a safe anti-fungal, potential side effects should be closely monitored during therapy.
  • For ringworm therapy, administration of the drug should be continued until a complete cure has been achieved (usually confirmed by negative fungal cultures).