Liposomal and Lipid Formulations of Amphotericin B
Amphotericin B remains a very important drug for the treatment of fungal infections despite its toxicity. Encapsulation of amphotericin B into liposomes appears to reduce the toxic effects and to improve the clinical efficacy, allowing higher dosages to be given. The exact mechanism behind the reduced toxicity is not yet known.
Amphotericin B is widely distributed after intravenous administration as the deoxycholate solubilisate. The highest concentrations are found in the liver, spleen and kidney. Protein binding and binding to the tissues is very high. The fate of the drug in the body is not known in detail. Renal and biliary excretion are both low and no metabolites have been identified. The drug is still detectable in the liver, spleen and kidney for as long as 1 year after stopping therapy.
The pharmacokinetics of the different liposomal amphotericin B or lipid complexes of amphotericin B, which were recently developed, are quite diverse. A number of these preparations, such as amphotericin B lipid complex (ABLC), ‘AmBisome’ and amphotericin B colloidal dispersion (ABCD) are in clinical development. Their pharmacokinetics depend to a large extent on the composition and particle size of the liposomes or lipid complexes. Relatively large structures such as ABLC are rapidly taken up by the mononuclear phagocyte system, whereas smaller liposomes remain in the circulation for prolonged periods. In all studies only the total amphotericin B (both free and liposome- or lipid-associated) concentrations were determined.
There is a need for studies correlating clinical efficacy and tolerability of liposomal amphotericin B with the pharmacokinetic properties of these formulations.
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