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J Pharm Sci. 2014 Aug;103(8):2565-70. doi: 10.1002/jps.24064. Epub 2014 Jun 24.

Protein-binding characteristics of voriconazole determined by high-throughput equilibrium dialysis.

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KU Leuven Department of Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences, Clinical Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapy, University Hospitals Leuven, Leuven, 3000, Belgium.


Plasma protein binding (PPB) can possibly alter the already variable pharmacokinetics of voriconazole. Voriconazole PPB was determined only once, being 58%, according to equilibrium dialysis (ED). We investigated voriconazole PPB more in detail, with a convenient and newer high-throughput ED assay (HT-ED), in human blank plasma spiked with voriconazole and in plasma from intensive care unit (ICU) patients treated with voriconazole. HT-ED was conducted in a 96-well plate, setup against phosphate-buffered saline. Voriconazole concentrations were measured by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. The median PPB was 47.6% [interquartile range (IQR) 45.3%-50%] in vitro, and 49.6% (IQR 42.5%-52.5%) in ICU samples (p = 0.35), and is not depending on total voriconazole concentration (0.7-11.2 mg/L, p = 0.65). The drug mainly binds to albumin (25.5 ± 5.1%), and to a lesser extent to α-1-acid glycoprotein (AAG; 4.8 ± 1.2%). The HT-ED assay can be performed at 37 °C or 25 °C (p = 0.44) and in batch: PPB variations during freeze-thaw cycles (p = 0.13) and during frozen storage up to 12 months (p = 0.10) were not clinically relevant. Voriconazole PPB is approximately 50%, according to HT-ED. As albumin and AAG only account for approximately 30% of total voriconazole PPB, other plasma components could influence PPB and therefore efficacy or toxicity because of variations in unbound fractions.


albumin; equilibrium dialysis; high-throughput technologies; pharmacokinetics; protein binding; unbound fraction; voriconazole; α-1-acid-glycoprotein

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