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Around the Traps

Issue: Issue 81: April 2009
Author: By a Staff Writer

Organisations with pharmacy connections are invited to share their news, product releases or opinions in this column.
This Month:



Community-based doctors are now able to prescribe VFEND® (voriconazole) tablets – a first-line treatment for aspergillosis – as a PBS-listed medicine. The PBS listing also recognises VFEND as a first-line therapy for scedosporium or fusarium-related fungal infections, and a second line therapy for both candida and mycosis.

VFEND is a broad-spectrum antifungal agent for first-line treatment of invasive aspergillosis, including disseminated disease and aspergillosis which has been unresponsive to other therapies.¹ Invasive aspergillosis is an important cause of morbidity and mortality in transplant recipients and immunocompromised patients with haematological malignancies.¹

Until now, VFEND has been available only through hospitals. While VFEND is available as an intravenous injection, as an oral suspension and in tablet form, the new PBS-listing is specifically for the tablets (50mg or 200mg dosage).

Head of the Mycology Unit, South Australia Pathology at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Associate Professor David Ellis, said: "Voriconazole has become the agent of choice for the treatment of invasive Aspergillus infection in the immunocompromised patient. The PBS listing of oral voriconazole is good news for both clinicians and patients, especially those on maintenance therapy that do not require hospitalisation."

VFEND is also an important treatment option for other life-threatening fungal infections such as scedosporiosis, fusariosis and cryptococcosis.2

Additionally, VFEND is used to treat serious candida infections such as invasive candidiasis and candidaemia – increasingly common, costly and potentially fatal yeast infections, particularly affecting the immunocompromised and critically ill.¹

The most common side effects of VFEND are visual disturbances, fever, rash, vomiting, nausea, diarrhoea, headache, peripheral oedema and abdominal pain2. The severity is generally mild to moderate. VFEND is contraindicated with the simultaneous use of cisapride, pimozide, quinidine, rifampicin, carbamazepine, long-acting barbiturates, ergot alkaloids, sirolimus and St John’s Wort. It should also be used with caution in patients with hypersensitivity to azoles and proarrhythmic conditions.2

Health professionals with questions about VFEND can contact Pfizer’s Medical Affairs department on 1800 675 229.

For further information please review the full product information available at

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