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MagazineJune 1996 (Vol. 7 Issue 3)Sporanox

Sporanox (generic name: itraconazole) is an antifungal that packs a punch

Sporanox (generic name: itraconazole) is an antifungal that packs a punch. In the US, three cases of reversible hepatitis were discovered among 2,500 people taking part in the first trials, and another patient outside of the US died although he was o

But if Sporanox can be potent, it can be lethal when taken in conjunction with the antihistamine terfenadine. One person died while on the dual medication, and another three cases of life threatening irregular heartbeat were also reported.

In another test in the US, 10.6 per cent of the patients had to come off the drug because of adverse reactions, mainly associated with gastrointestinal disorders, such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Nearly 9 per cent reported a skin rash, while headache and raised blood pressure were also common complaints. Nearly 3 per cent reported liver problems.

This range of reactions, some serious, seems a high price to pay for a drug supposed to treat conditions that mainly cause discomfort, such as candida, thrush and other fungal infections.

Manufactured by Janssen-Cilag, Sporanox comes in 100 mg capsules, and the dosage ranges widely depending on the condition, and that of the patient. AIDS sufferers, for instance, are supposed to be given double the dose because of their absorption problems.

Patients who show early signs of possible liver problems unusual fatigue, anorexia, nausea, vomiting and jaundice should come off the drug immediately for tests.

Pregnant women, nursing mothers, children and the elderly should not be given the drug.

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