Mechanism of Action
Fexofenadine hydrochloride, the major active metabolite of terfenadine, is an antihistamine with selective peripheral H1-receptor antagonist activity. Both enantiomers of fexofenadine hydrochloride displayed approximately equipotent antihistaminic effects. Fexofenadine hydrochloride inhibited antigen-induced bronchospasm in sensitized guinea pigs and histamine release from peritoneal mast cells in rats. The clinical significance of these findings is unknown. In laboratory animals, no anticholinergic or alpha1-adrenergic blocking effects were observed. Moreover, no sedative or other central nervous system effects were observed. Radiolabeled tissue distribution studies in rats indicated that fexofenadine does not cross the blood-brain barrier.
The pharmacokinetics of fexofenadine hydrochloride in subjects with seasonal allergic rhinitis and subjects with chronic urticaria were similar to those in healthy volunteers.
Fexofenadine hydrochloride was rapidly absorbed following oral administration of a single dose of two 60 mg capsules to healthy male volunteers with a mean time to maximum plasma concentration occurring at 2.6 hours post-dose. After administration of a single 60 mg capsule to healthy volunteers, the mean maximum plasma concentration was 131 ng/mL. Following single dose oral administrations of either the 60 and 180 mg tablet to healthy adult male volunteers, mean maximum plasma concentrations were 142 and 494 ng/mL, respectively. The tablet formulations are bioequivalent to the capsule when administered at equal doses. Fexofenadine hydrochloride pharmacokinetics are linear for oral doses up to a total daily dose of 240 mg (120 mg twice daily). The administration of the 60 mg capsule contents mixed with applesauce did not have a significant effect on the pharmacokinetics of fexofenadine in adults.
Co-administration of 180 mg fexofenadine hydrochloride tablet with a high fat meal decreased the AUC and Cmax of fexofenadine by 21 and 20% respectively.
Fexofenadine hydrochloride is 60% to 70% bound to plasma proteins, primarily albumin and α1-acid glycoprotein.
Approximately 5% of the total dose of fexofenadine hydrochloride was eliminated by hepatic metabolism.
The mean elimination half-life of fexofenadine was 14.4 hours following administration of 60mg, twice daily, in healthy volunteers.
Human mass balance studies documented a recovery of approximately 80% and 11% of the [14C] fexofenadine hydrochloride dose in the feces and urine, respectively. Because the absolute bioavailability of fexofenadine hydrochloride has not been established, it is unknown if the fecal component represents primarily unabsorbed drug or the result of biliary excretion.
Pharmacokinetics in special populations (for renal, hepatic impairment, and age), obtained after a single dose of 80 mg fexofenadine hydrochloride, were compared to those from healthy volunteers in a separate study of similar design.
In older subjects (≥65 years old), peak plasma levels of fexofenadine were 99% greater than those observed in younger subjects (<65 years old). Mean fexofenadine elimination half-lives were similar to those observed in younger subjects.
Cross study comparisons indicated that fexofenadine area under the curve (AUC) following oral administration of a 60 mg dose of fexofenadine hydrochloride to 7–12 year old pediatric subjects with allergic rhinitis was 56% greater compared to healthy adult volunteers given the same dose. Plasma exposure in pediatric subjects given 30 mg fexofenadine hydrochloride is comparable to adults given 60 mg.
In subjects with mild to moderate (creatinine clearance 41–80 mL/min) and severe (creatinine clearance 11–40 mL/min) renal impairment, peak plasma levels of fexofenadine were 87% and 111% greater, respectively, and mean elimination half-lives were 59% and 72% longer, respectively, than observed in healthy volunteers. Peak plasma levels in subjects on dialysis (creatinine clearance ≤10 mL/min) were 82% greater and half-life was 31% longer than observed in healthy volunteers. Based on increases in bioavailability and half-life, a dose of 60 mg once daily is recommended as the starting dose in patients with decreased renal function. (See DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).
The pharmacokinetics of fexofenadine in subjects with hepatic disease did not differ substantially from that observed in healthy volunteers.
Effect of Gender
Across several trials, no clinically significant gender-related differences were observed in the pharmacokinetics of fexofenadine hydrochloride .
Wheal and Flare
Human histamine skin wheal and flare studies following single and twice daily doses of 20 and 40 mg fexofenadine hydrochloride demonstrated that the drug exhibits an antihistamine effect by 1 hour, achieves maximum effect at 2 to 3 hours, and an effect is still seen at 12 hours. There was no evidence of tolerance to these effects after 28 days of dosing. The clinical significance of these observations is unknown.
Histamine skin wheal and flare studies in 7 to 12 year old subjects showed that following a single dose of 30 or 60 mg, antihistamine effect was observed at 1 hour and reached a maximum by 3 hours. Greater than 49% inhibition of wheal area, and 74% inhibition of flare area were maintained for 8 hours following the 30 and 60 mg dose.
Effects on QTc
In dogs (30 mg/kg/orally twice daily for 5 days) and rabbits (10 mg/kg, intravenously over 1 hour), fexofenadine hydrochloride did not prolong QTc. In dogs, the plasma fexofenadine concentration was approximately 9 times the therapeutic plasma concentrations in adults receiving the maximum recommended human daily oral dose of 180 mg. In rabbits, the plasma fexofenadine concentration was approximately 20 times the therapeutic plasma concentration in adults receiving the maximum recommended human daily oral dose of 180 mg. No effect was observed on calcium channel current, delayed K+ channel current, or action potential duration in guinea pig myocytes, Na+ current in rat neonatal myocytes, or on the delayed rectifier K+ channel cloned from human heart at concentrations up to 1 × 10-5 M of fexofenadine.
No statistically significant increase in mean QTc interval compared to placebo was observed in 714 subjects with seasonal allergic rhinitis given fexofenadine hydrochloride capsules in doses of 60 to 240 mg twice daily for 2 weeks. Pediatric subjects from 2 placebo- controlled trials (n=855) treated with up to 60 mg fexofenadine hydrochloride twice daily demonstrated no significant treatment- or dose-related increases in QTc. In addition, no statistically significant increase in mean QTc interval compared to placebo was observed in 40 healthy volunteers given fexofenadine hydrochloride as an oral solution at doses up to 400 mg twice daily for 6 days, or in 230 healthy volunteers given fexofenadine hydrochloride 240 mg once daily for 1 year. In subjects with chronic idiopathic urticaria, there were no clinically relevant differences for any ECG intervals, including QTc, between those treated with fexofenadine hydrochloride 180 mg once daily (n = 163) and those treated with placebo (n = 91) for 4 weeks.