Effects of high-dose itraconazole treatment on lipoproteins in men.

B. Schneider, R. Gerdsen, J. Plat, S.P. Dullens, I. Björkhem, U Diczfalusy, P.J. Neuvonen, T. Bieber, K. von Bergmann, D. Lütjohann*

*Corresponding author for this work

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OBJECTIVE: Epidemiological studies have convincingly demonstrated a positive association between LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C) and coronary artery disease but, in the case of HDL-C, there is an inverse association. Administration of high doses of the antifungal agent ketoconazole (800 mg/d) reduces serum concentrations of total cholesterol and LDL-C and there is a tendency for an increase in HDL-C. Our goal was to examine whether high-dose itraconazole raises HDL-C in subjects with normal levels of cholesterol. PATIENTS AND METHODS: 8 male patients with onychomycosis received 2 one-week cycles of treatment with itraconazole at a dose of 400 mg once daily in an open, prospective exploratory trial. Serum levels of itraconazole and its active metabolite hydroxyitraconazole were determined using high-performance liquid chromatography at the end of each treatment cycle. Fasting levels of serum lipoproteins and triglycerides were measured twice using routine enzymatic assays at the beginning and end of each cycle. The effects of itraconazole and hydroxyitraconazole on HDL-C metabolism were assessed in vitro using a human Caco-2 cell line and analyzing apoA-I levels with an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. RESULTS: During itraconazole treatment total cholesterol and LDL-C decreased on average by 12% (p < 0.001) and 17% (p < 0.001), respectively, whereas HDL-C increased by 21% (p < 0.001). The ratio LDL: HDL-C, an index of atherogenic risk, decreased by 30% (p < 0.001). Incubation of Caco-2 cells in the presence of itraconazole and hydroxyitraconazole for 3 hours resulted in a significant increase in apoA-I concentration in the medium (913 and 412%, respectively) compared with control. CONCLUSION: In addition to its inhibitory effect on cholesterol synthesis, high-dose itraconazole (400 mg/d) causes a significant decrease in serum LDL-C and, in contrast to ketoconazole, a significant increase in HDL-C. In vitro studies with Caco-2 cells indicate that the latter observation might be caused by an increase in apoA-I levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)377-384
JournalInternational Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007

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