An Open-Label Comparative Pilot Study of Oral Voriconazole and Itraconazole for Long-Term Treatment of Paracoccidioidomycosis

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Background.In previous studies, itraconazole was revealed to be an effective therapy and was considered to be the gold standard treatment for mild-to-moderate acute and chronic clinical forms of paracoccidioidomycosis. A pilot study was conducted to investigate the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of voriconazole for the long-term treatment of acute or chronic paracoccidioidomycosis, with itraconazole as the control treatment.Methods.A randomized, open-label study was conducted at 3 Brazilian tertiary care hospitals. Patients were randomized (at a 2: 1 ratio) to receive oral therapy with voriconazole or itraconazole for 6 months. Patients receiving ≥1 dose of study drug were evaluated for safety; patients with confirmed paracoccidioidomycosis who completed ≥6 months of therapy (treatment-evaluable patients) were evaluated for treatment efficacy. Satisfactory global response was assessed at the end of treatment.Results.Fifty-three patients were evaluated for treatment safety (35 received voriconazole, and 18 received itraconazole). Both drugs were well tolerated. The most common treatment-related adverse events in the voriconazole group included abnormal vision, chromatopsia, rash, and headache; the most common treatment-related adverse events in the itraconazole group included bradycardia, diarrhea, and headache. Liver function test values were slightly higher in patients receiving voriconazole than in those receiving itraconazole; 2 patients in the voriconazole group were withdrawn from treatment because of increased liver function test values. In the intent-to-treat populations, the satisfactory response rate (i.e., complete or partial global response) was 88.6% among the voriconazole group and 94.4% among the itraconazole group. The response rate among treatment-evaluable patients was 100% for both treatment groups; no relapses were observed after 8 weeks of follow-up.Conclusions.This is, to our knowledge, the first study to demonstrate that voriconazole is as well tolerated and effective as itraconazole for the long-term treatment of paracoccidioidomycosis.

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