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Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2000 Apr;56(1):57-60.

The effect of itraconazole on the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of oral prednisolone.

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Department of Clinical Pharmacology, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Central Hospital, Finland.



To examine the possible effect of itraconazole on the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of orally administered prednisolone.


In this double-blind, randomised, two-phase cross-over study, ten healthy subjects received either 200 mg itraconazole or placebo orally once a day for 4 days. On day 4, 20 mg prednisolone was given orally. Plasma concentrations of prednisolone, cortisol, itraconazole, and hydroxyitraconazole were determined by means of high-performance liquid chromatography up to 47 h.


Itraconazole increased the total area under the plasma prednisolone concentration-time curve by 24% (P < 0.001) and the elimination half-life of prednisolone by 29% (P < 0.001) compared with placebo. The peak plasma concentration and time to the peak of prednisolone were not affected by itraconazole. The mean morning plasma cortisol concentration, measured 23 h after the ingestion of prednisolone, during the itraconazole phase was 73% of that during the placebo phase (P < 0.001).


The observed minor interaction between itraconazole and oral prednisolone is probably of limited clinical significance. The susceptibility of prednisolone to interact with CYP3A4 inhibitors is considerably smaller than that of methylprednisolone, and itraconazole and probably also other inhibitors of CYP3A4 can be used concomitantly with prednisolone without marked changes in the effects of this corticosteroid.

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