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Vfend (Voriconazole) - Side Effects and Adverse Reactions




The most frequently reported adverse events (all causalities) in the therapeutic trials were visual disturbances, fever, rash, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, headache, sepsis, peripheral edema, abdominal pain, and respiratory disorder. The treatment-related adverse events which most often led to discontinuation of voriconazole therapy were elevated liver function tests, rash, and visual disturbances (see hepatic toxicity under WARNINGS and discussion of Clinical Laboratory Values and dermatological and visual adverse events below).

Discussion of Adverse Reactions

The data described in Table 13 reflect exposure to voriconazole in 1655 patients in the therapeutic studies. This represents a heterogeneous population, including immunocompromised patients, e.g., patients with hematological malignancy or HIV and non-neutropenic patients. This subgroup does not include healthy subjects and patients treated in the compassionate use and non-therapeutic studies. This patient population was 62% male, had a mean age of 46 years (range 11–90, including 51 patients aged 12–18 years), and was 78% white and 10% black. In the initial regulatory filing, 561 patients had a duration of voriconazole therapy of greater than 12 weeks, with 136 patients receiving voriconazole for over six months. Table 13 includes all adverse events which were reported at an incidence of ≥2% during voriconazole therapy in the all therapeutic studies population, studies 307/602 and 608 combined, or study 305, as well as events of concern which occurred at an incidence of <2%.

In study 307/602, 381 patients (196 on voriconazole, 185 on amphotericin B) were treated to compare voriconazole to amphotericin B followed by other licensed antifungal therapy in the primary treatment of patients with acute invasive aspergillosis. In study 608, 403 patients with candidemia were treated to compare voriconazole (272 patients) to the regimen of amphotericin B followed by fluconazole (131 patients). Study 305 evaluated the effects of oral voriconazole (200 patients) and oral fluconazole (191 patients) in the treatment of esophageal candidiasis. Laboratory test abnormalities for these studies are discussed under Clinical Laboratory Values below.

Table 13 Treatment Emergent Adverse Events
Rate ≥ 2% on Voriconazole or Adverse Events of Concern in All Therapeutic Studies Population, Studies 307/602–608 Combined, or Study 305. Possibly Related to Therapy or Causality Unknown 1
All Therapeutic StudiesStudies 307/602 and 608
(IV/ oral therapy)
Study 305
(oral therapy)
N = 1655
N = 468
Ampho B 2
Ampho B→ Fluconazole
N= 131
N = 200
N =191
N (%)N (%)N (%)N (%)N (%)N (%)

Special Senses 3
Abnormal vision310 (18.7)63 (13.5)1 (0.5)031 (15.5)8 (4.2)
Photophobia37 (2.2)8 (1.7)005 (2.5)2 (1.0)
Chromatopsia20 (1.2)2 (0.4)002 (1.0)0

Body as a Whole
Fever94 (5.7)8 (1.7)25 (13.5)5 (3.8)00
Chills61 (3.7)1 (0.2)36 (19.5)8 (6.1)1 (0.5)0
Headache49 (3.0)9 (1.9)8 (4.3)1 (0.8)01 (0.5)

Cardiovascular System
Tachycardia39 (2.4)6 (1.3)5 (2.7)000

Digestive System
Nausea89 (5.4)18 (3.8)29 (15.7)2 (1.5)2 (1.0)3 (1.6)
Vomiting72 (4.4)15 (3.2)18 (9.7)1 (0.8)2 (1.0)1 (0.5)
Liver function tests abnormal45 (2.7)15 (3.2)4 (2.2)1 (0.8)6 (3.0)2 (1.0)
Cholestatic jaundice17 (1.0)8 (1.7)01 (0.8)3 (1.5)0

Metabolic and Nutritional Systems
Alkaline phosphatase increased59 (3.6)19 (4.1)4 (2.2)3 (2.3)10 (5.0)3 (1.6)
Hepatic enzymes increased30 (1.8)11 (2.4)5 (2.7)1 (0.8)3 (1.5)0
SGOT increased31 (1.9)9 (1.9)01 (0.8)8 (4.0)2 (1.0)
SGPT increased29 (1.8)9 (1.9)1 (0.5)2 (1.5)6 (3.0)2 (1.0)
Hypokalemia26 (1.6)3 (0.6)36 (19.5)16 (12.2)00
Bilirubinemia15 (0.9)5 (1.1)3 (1.6)2 (1.5)1 (0.5)0
Creatinine increased4 (0.2)059 (31.9)10 (7.6)1 (0.5)0

Nervous System
Hallucinations39 (2.4)13 (2.8)1 (0.5)000

Skin and Appendages
Rash 88 (5.3)20 (4.3)7 (3.8)1 (0.8)3 (1.5)1 (0.5)

Kidney function abnormal10 (0.6)6 (1.3)40 (21.6)9 (6.9)1 (0.5)1 (0.5)
Acute kidney failure7 (0.4)2 (0.4)11 (5.9)7 (5.3)00

1 Study 307/602: invasive aspergillosis; Study 608: candidemia; Study 305: esophageal candidiasis
2 Amphotericin B followed by other licensed antifungal therapy
3 See WARNINGS – Visual Disturbances, PRECAUTIONS – Information for Patients


Voriconazole treatment-related visual disturbances are common. In therapeutic trials, approximately 21% of patients experienced abnormal vision, color vision change and/or photophobia. The visual disturbances were generally mild and rarely resulted in discontinuation. Visual disturbances may be associated with higher plasma concentrations and/or doses.

There have been post-marketing reports of prolonged visual adverse events, including optic neuritis and papilledema. These events occurred primarily in severely ill patients who had underlying conditions and/or concomitant medications which may have caused or contributed to these events (see WARNINGS).

The mechanism of action of the visual disturbance is unknown, although the site of action is most likely to be within the retina. In a study in healthy subjects investigating the effect of 28-day treatment with voriconazole on retinal function, voriconazole caused a decrease in the electroretinogram (ERG) waveform amplitude, a decrease in the visual field, and an alteration in color perception. The ERG measures electrical currents in the retina. The effects were noted early in administration of voriconazole and continued through the course of study drug dosing. Fourteen days after end of dosing, ERG, visual fields and color perception returned to normal (see WARNINGS, PRECAUTIONS – Information For Patients).

Dermatological Reactions

Dermatological reactions were common in the patients treated with voriconazole. The mechanism underlying these dermatologic adverse events remains unknown. In clinical trials, rashes considered related to therapy were reported by 7% (110/1655) of voriconazole-treated patients. The majority of rashes were of mild to moderate severity. Cases of photosensitivity reactions appear to be more likely to occur with long-term treatment. Patients have rarely developed serious cutaneous reactions, including Stevens-Johnson syndrome, toxic epidermal necrolysis and erythema multiforme during treatment with VFEND. If patients develop a rash, they should be monitored closely and consideration given to discontinuation of VFEND. It is recommended that patients avoid strong, direct sunlight during VFEND therapy.

Less Common Adverse Events

The following adverse events occurred in < 2% of all voriconazole-treated patients in all therapeutic studies (N=1655). This listing includes events where a causal relationship to voriconazole cannot be ruled out or those which may help the physician in managing the risks to the patients. The list does not include events included in Table 13 above and does not include every event reported in the voriconazole clinical program.

Body as a Whole: abdominal pain, abdomen enlarged, allergic reaction, anaphylactoid reaction (see PRECAUTIONS), ascites, asthenia, back pain, chest pain, cellulitis, edema, face edema, flank pain, flu syndrome, graft versus host reaction, granuloma, infection, bacterial infection, fungal infection, injection site pain, injection site infection/inflammation, mucous membrane disorder, multi-organ failure, pain, pelvic pain, peritonitis, sepsis, substernal chest pain

Cardiovascular: atrial arrhythmia, atrial fibrillation, AV block complete, bigeminy, bradycardia, bundle branch block, cardiomegaly, cardiomyopathy, cerebral hemorrhage, cerebral ischemia, cerebrovascular accident, congestive heart failure, deep thrombophlebitis, endocarditis, extrasystoles, heart arrest, hypertension, hypotension, myocardial infarction, nodal arrhythmia, palpitation, phlebitis, postural hypotension, pulmonary embolus, QT interval prolonged, supraventricular extrasystoles, supraventricular tachycardia, syncope, thrombophlebitis, vasodilatation, ventricular arrhythmia, ventricular fibrillation, ventricular tachycardia (including torsade de pointes)

Digestive: anorexia, cheilitis, cholecystitis, cholelithiasis, constipation, diarrhea, duodenal ulcer perforation, duodenitis, dyspepsia, dysphagia, dry mouth, esophageal ulcer, esophagitis, flatulence, gastroenteritis, gastrointestinal hemorrhage, GGT/LDH elevated, gingivitis, glossitis, gum hemorrhage, gum hyperplasia, hematemesis, hepatic coma, hepatic failure, hepatitis, intestinal perforation, intestinal ulcer, jaundice, enlarged liver, melena, mouth ulceration, pancreatitis, parotid gland enlargement, periodontitis, proctitis, pseudomembranous colitis, rectal disorder, rectal hemorrhage, stomach ulcer, stomatitis, tongue edema

Endocrine: adrenal cortex insufficiency, diabetes insipidus, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism

Hemic and Lymphatic: agranulocytosis, anemia (macrocytic, megaloblastic, microcytic, normocytic), aplastic anemia, hemolytic anemia, bleeding time increased, cyanosis, DIC, ecchymosis, eosinophilia, hypervolemia, leukopenia, lymphadenopathy, lymphangitis, marrow depression, pancytopenia, petechia, purpura, enlarged spleen, thrombocytopenia, thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura

Metabolic and Nutritional: albuminuria, BUN increased, creatine phosphokinase increased, edema, glucose tolerance decreased, hypercalcemia, hypercholesteremia, hyperglycemia, hyperkalemia, hypermagnesemia, hypernatremia, hyperuricemia, hypocalcemia, hypoglycemia, hypomagnesemia, hyponatremia, hypophosphatemia, peripheral edema, uremia

Musculoskeletal: arthralgia, arthritis, bone necrosis, bone pain, leg cramps, myalgia, myasthenia, myopathy, osteomalacia, osteoporosis

Nervous System: abnormal dreams, acute brain syndrome, agitation, akathisia, amnesia, anxiety, ataxia, brain edema, coma, confusion, convulsion, delirium, dementia, depersonalization, depression, diplopia, dizziness, encephalitis, encephalopathy, euphoria, Extrapyramidal Syndrome, grand mal convulsion, Guillain-Barré syndrome, hypertonia, hypesthesia, insomnia, intracranial hypertension, libido decreased, neuralgia, neuropathy, nystagmus, oculogyric crisis, paresthesia, psychosis, somnolence, suicidal ideation, tremor, vertigo

Respiratory System: cough increased, dyspnea, epistaxis, hemoptysis, hypoxia, lung edema, pharyngitis, pleural effusion, pneumonia, respiratory disorder, respiratory distress syndrome, respiratory tract infection, rhinitis, sinusitis, voice alteration

Skin and Appendages: alopecia, angioedema, contact dermatitis, discoid lupus erythematosis, eczema, erythema multiforme, exfoliative dermatitis, fixed drug eruption, furunculosis, herpes simplex, maculopapular rash, melanosis, photosensitivity skin reaction, pruritus, psoriasis, skin discoloration, skin disorder, skin dry, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, sweating, toxic epidermal necrolysis, urticaria

Special Senses: abnormality of accommodation, blepharitis, color blindness, conjunctivitis, corneal opacity, deafness, ear pain, eye pain, eye hemorrhage, dry eyes, hypoacusis, keratitis, keratoconjunctivitis, mydriasis, night blindness, optic atrophy, optic neuritis, otitis externa, papilledema, retinal hemorrhage, retinitis, scleritis, taste loss, taste perversion, tinnitus, uveitis, visual field defect

Urogenital: anuria, blighted ovum, creatinine clearance decreased, dysmenorrhea, dysuria, epididymitis, glycosuria, hemorrhagic cystitis, hematuria, hydronephrosis, impotence, kidney pain, kidney tubular necrosis, metrorrhagia, nephritis, nephrosis, oliguria, scrotal edema, urinary incontinence, urinary retention, urinary tract infection, uterine hemorrhage, vaginal hemorrhage

Clinical Laboratory Values

The overall incidence of clinically significant transaminase abnormalities in all therapeutic studies was 12.4% (206/1655) of patients treated with voriconazole. Increased incidence of liver function test abnormalities may be associated with higher plasma concentrations and/or doses. The majority of abnormal liver function tests either resolved during treatment without dose adjustment or following dose adjustment, including discontinuation of therapy.

Voriconazole has been infrequently associated with cases of serious hepatic toxicity including cases of jaundice and rare cases of hepatitis and hepatic failure leading to death. Most of these patients had other serious underlying conditions.

Liver function tests should be evaluated at the start of and during the course of VFEND therapy. Patients who develop abnormal liver function tests during VFEND therapy should be monitored for the development of more severe hepatic injury. Patient management should include laboratory evaluation of hepatic function (particularly liver function tests and bilirubin). Discontinuation of VFEND must be considered if clinical signs and symptoms consistent with liver disease develop that may be attributable to VFEND (see WARNINGS and PRECAUTIONS - Laboratory Tests).

Acute renal failure has been observed in severely ill patients undergoing treatment with VFEND. Patients being treated with voriconazole are likely to be treated concomitantly with nephrotoxic medications and have concurrent conditions that may result in decreased renal function. It is recommended that patients are monitored for the development of abnormal renal function. This should include laboratory evaluation, particularly serum creatinine.

Tables 14 and 15 and 16 show the number of patients with hypokalemia and clinically significant changes in renal and liver function tests in three randomized, comparative multicenter studies. In study 305, patients with esophageal candidiasis were randomized to either oral voriconazole or oral fluconazole. In study 307/602, patients with definite or probable invasive aspergillosis were randomized to either voriconazole or amphotericin B therapy. In study 608, patients with candidemia were randomized to either voriconazole or the regimen of amphotericin B followed by fluconazole.

Table 14 Protocol 305 Clinically Significant Laboratory Test Abnormalities
Criteria 1 VoriconazoleFluconazole
n/N (%) n /N (%)
n          number of patients with a clinically significant abnormality while on study therapy
N          total number of patients with at least one observation of the given lab test while on study therapy
ULN    upper limit of normal
T. Bilirubin>1.5× ULN8/185 (4.3)7/186 (3.8)
AST>3.0× ULN38/187 (20.3)15/186 (8.1)
ALT>3.0× ULN20/187 (10.7)12/186 (6.5)
Alk phos>3.0× ULN19/187 (10.2)14/186 (7.5)

1         Without regard to baseline value

Table 15 Protocol 307/602 Clinically Significant Laboratory Test Abnormalities
Criteria 1 VoriconazoleAmphotericin B 2
n/N (%) n/N (%)
n          number of patients with a clinically significant abnormality while on study therapy
N          total number of patients with at least one observation of the given lab test while on study therapy
ULN    upper limit of normal
LLN     lower limit of normal
T. Bilirubin>1.5× ULN35/180 (19.4)46/173 (26.6)
AST>3.0× ULN21/180 (11.7)18/174 (10.3)
ALT>3.0× ULN34/180 (18.9)40/173 (23.1)
Alk phos>3.0× ULN29/181 (16.0)38/173 (22.0)
Creatinine>1.3× ULN39/182 (21.4)102/177 (57.6)
Potassium<0.9× LLN30/181 (16.6)70/178 (39.3)
1         Without regard to baseline value
2         Amphotericin B followed by other licensed antifungal therapy

Table 16 Protocol 608 Clinically Significant Laboratory Test Abnormalities
Criteria 1 VoriconazoleAmphotericin B followed by Fluconazole
n/N (%) n/N (%)
n          number of patients with a clinically significant abnormality while on study therapy
N          total number of patients with at least one observation of the given lab test while on study therapy
ULN    upper limit of normal
LLN     lower limit of normal
T. Bilirubin>1.5× ULN50/261 (19.2)31/115 (27.0)
AST>3.0× ULN40/261 (15.3)16/116 (13.8)
ALT>3.0× ULN22/261 (8.4)15/116 (12.9)
Alk phos>3.0× ULN59/261 (22.6)26/115 (22.6)
Creatinine>1.3× ULN39/260 (15.0)32/118 (27.1)
Potassium<0.9× LLN43/258 (16.7)35/118 (29.7)
1         Without regard to baseline value


Below is a sample of reports where side effects / adverse reactions may be related to Vfend. The information is not vetted and should not be considered as verified clinical evidence.

Possible Vfend side effects / adverse reactions in 76 year old male

Reported by a pharmacist from Japan on 2011-10-03

Patient: 76 year old male

Reactions: Gamma-Glutamyltransferase Increased

Suspect drug(s):

Possible Vfend side effects / adverse reactions in 38 year old male

Reported by a health professional (non-physician/pharmacist) from France on 2011-10-03

Patient: 38 year old male

Reactions: Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Suspect drug(s):

Other drugs received by patient: Mycophenolate Mofetil (Cellcept); Creon; Prednisone; Prograf; Levothyroxine Sodium

Possible Vfend side effects / adverse reactions in 44 year old male

Reported by a health professional (non-physician/pharmacist) from France on 2011-10-04

Patient: 44 year old male

Reactions: Cytolytic Hepatitis

Adverse event resulted in: hospitalization

Suspect drug(s):
    Dosage: 100 mg, 2x/day
    Start date: 2011-08-22
    End date: 2011-08-23

    Dosage: unk
    End date: 2011-08-21

    Dosage: unk
    End date: 2011-08-21

    Dosage: 200 mg, 2x/day
    Indication: Prophylaxis
    Start date: 2011-08-12
    End date: 2011-08-21

Other drugs received by patient: Tenormin; Sodium Bicarbonate; Ferrous Sulfate TAB; Eprex; Neoral; Amoxicillin; Kayexalate; Aspirin; Prednisone; Speciafoldine; Mycophenolate Mofetil (Cellcept)

See index of all Vfend side effect reports >>

Drug label data at the top of this Page last updated: 2008-05-22

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