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Drug Metab Dispos. 1992 Jul-Aug;20(4):572-7.

Effect of miconazole on warfarin disposition in rabbits.

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Department of Pharmaceutics, Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science, PA 19104.


To elucidate the mechanism underlying the reported potentiation of warfarin anticoagulant action after initiation of miconazole therapy, the effects of acute and chronic miconazole administration on warfarin disposition were examined in six adult New Zealand male rabbits. The rabbits received a 3.5 mg/kg iv dose of warfarin either alone, 1 hr after a single 100 mg/kg ip miconazole dose, or on day 5 of a 6-day 50 mg/kg/12 hr ip miconazole dosing regimen. Acute miconazole administration decreased the elimination rate constant of warfarin, but other warfarin disposition parameters were not altered. Chronic miconazole administration caused a 47% increase in warfarin plasma-free fraction (probably caused by competitive or noncompetitive protein binding displacement by miconazole metabolites) and a 42% decrease in warfarin intrinsic clearance (probably caused by a miconazole-induced inhibition in warfarin metabolism). As a consequence of these quantitatively similar but opposite changes, the total body clearance of warfarin (a low clearance drug) was marginally decreased. A significant decrease in the elimination rate constant and an increase in the tissue-free fraction of warfarin were also observed during chronic miconazole treatment. These results suggest that chronic miconazole administration should not significantly affect the steady-state plasma concentrations of total warfarin, but should increase the steady-state plasma concentrations of free warfarin. The expected increases in the steady-state plasma concentrations of free, pharmacologically active warfarin may account for the reported potentiation of the pharmacological action of warfarin when coadministered with chronic miconazole. Measurement of total plasma concentrations, and estimation of total body clearance might be misleading, and inadequate in identifying certain drug interactions involving low clearance drugs.

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