Voriconazole is prescribed to adults and children aged 2 years and older for the treatment of severe fungal infections, including invasive aspergillosis, esophageal candidiasis, and candidemia. It is also used when alternative medications are ineffective for specific patients with certain other fungal infections. Voriconazole belongs to a class of antifungal drugs known as triazoles, which function by inhibiting the growth of the fungi responsible for the infection.
Uses and Dosage
Voriconazole is available in tablet and suspension forms for oral administration. Typically, it should be taken every 12 hours on an empty stomach—either at least 1 hour before or 1 hour after a meal.
To ensure you take voriconazole consistently, aim to take it at the same times daily. Adhere to your doctor’s precise directions for voriconazole consumption; avoid taking more or less than prescribed or taking it more frequently.
For those using voriconazole suspension, give the closed bottle a thorough shake for about 10 seconds before each use to evenly distribute the medication. Do not mix the suspension with other drugs, water, or any other liquids. Always employ the measuring device that accompanies your medication. Using a regular household spoon may result in incorrect dosing.
Initially, during your treatment’s onset, voriconazole may be administered intravenously (into a vein). When transitioning to oral voriconazole, your doctor may initiate therapy with a low dose, which can be adjusted based on your response to treatment. Your doctor may also reduce the dosage if you experience any side effects from voriconazole.
The duration of your treatment hinges on your overall health, the specific type of infection you have, and your response to the medication. Continue taking voriconazole as prescribed, even if you begin to feel better. Refrain from discontinuing voriconazole without consulting your doctor.
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention:
- abnormal vision
- difficulty seeing colors
- dry mouth
Inform your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any serious side effects:
- chills or shaking
- fast heartbeat
- fast breathing
- upset stomach
- extreme tiredness
- unusual bruising or bleeding
- loss of appetite
- itching, dark urine, loss of appetite, fatigue, yellowing of the skin or eyes, pain in the upper right part of the stomach, nausea, vomiting, or flu-like symptoms
- weight gain; fatty hump between the shoulders; rounded face (moon face); darkening of skin on stomach, thighs, breasts, and arms; thinning skin; bruising; excessive hair growth; or sweating
- chest pain or tightness
Before commencing voriconazole, inform your healthcare provider or pharmacist of any allergies you have, including allergies to voriconazole itself, other azole antifungals like itraconazole, or any other allergies. This medication may contain inactive ingredients, such as lactose, which can trigger allergic reactions or other issues.
Prior to using this medication, disclose your medical history to your doctor or pharmacist, particularly if you have a history of liver disease or heart problems, such as irregular heartbeat.
Voriconazole can potentially lead to a heart rhythm condition known as QT prolongation. Although this is a rare occurrence, it can result in serious, occasionally fatal, fast or irregular heartbeat and other symptoms like severe dizziness or fainting that necessitate immediate medical attention. Your risk of experiencing QT prolongation may rise in cases of low potassium or magnesium levels in the blood, or if you are taking specific medications like diuretics (often referred to as “water pills”), or if you have conditions that lead to excessive sweating, diarrhea, or vomiting.
This medication may also cause changes in your vision. Until you are certain you can perform such tasks safely, refrain from activities like driving, operating machinery, or any task that demands clear vision. Avoid driving at night.
Alcoholic beverages should be avoided as they may increase the risk of severe liver problems.
Voriconazole can make your skin more sensitive to the sun and potentially raise your risk of skin cancer, especially with prolonged use. To mitigate this risk, limit your sun exposure, stay away from tanning booths and sunlamps, and wear sunscreen and protective clothing when outdoors. Notify your doctor immediately if you experience sunburn or develop skin blisters, redness, or notice any new or altered moles or skin lesions.
Older adults may exhibit increased sensitivity to the side effects of this drug, particularly QT prolongation.
Children may be at a heightened risk of liver issues and increased sun sensitivity when using this drug.
If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, you should not conceive while using voriconazole, as it may pose a risk to an unborn baby. Discuss reliable forms of birth control with your doctor while taking this medication. In the event of pregnancy, promptly consult your doctor to assess the risks and benefits of continuing this medication.
The passage of this medication into breast milk is not well understood. Due to potential risks to the infant, it is not recommended to breastfeed while using this drug.
Form and Strength
Vfend is available in the following forms and strengths:
How long do I have to take Vfend for?
Vfend is usually taken for at least 2 weeks, but the length of time that you have to take this medication will vary depending on how severe your infection is. Some people may even have to take this medication for several months.
Does Vfend cause hair loss?
Hair loss is listed as a possible side effect from Vfend, but it is very unlikely.