Clinical Pharmacokinetics

, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 127–143

Clinical Pharmacokinetics of the Antiviral Nucleotide Analogues Cidofovir and Adefovir

Review Articles Drug Disposition

DOI: 10.2165/00003088-199936020-00004

Cite this article as:
Cundy, K.C. Clin Pharmacokinet (1999) 36: 127. doi:10.2165/00003088-199936020-00004


Cidofovir and adefovir are members of a new class of antiviral compounds. They are acyclic phosphonate analogues of deoxynucleoside monophosphates. Both compounds undergo intracellular activation to form diphosphates that are potent inhibitors of viral DNA polymerases. Cidofovir has broad spectrum antiviral activity against herpesviruses, papillomaviruses and poxviruses, whereas adefovir has potent activity against retroviruses and certain DNA viruses, including herpesviruses and hepadnaviruses. Intravenous cidofovir is approved for treatment of cytomegalovirus retinitis in patients with AIDS.

Cidofovir and adefovir are dianionic at physiological pH and have low oral bioavailability in animals and humans. After intravenous administration to HIV-infected patients, the pharmacokinetics of both drugs are independent of dose and are consistent with preclinical data. Systemic exposure is proportional to the intravenous dose and both drugs are cleared by the kidney and excreted extensively as unchanged drug in the urine. Intracellular activation of a small fraction (<10%) of the dose by cellular kinases leads to prolonged antiviral effects that are not easily predicted from conventional pharmacokinetic studies. The observed rate of elimination of cidofovir and adefovir from serum may not reflect the true duration of action of these drugs, since the antiviral effect is dependent on concentrations of the active phosphorylated metabolites that are present within cells. For both drugs, >90% of an intravenous dose is recovered unchanged in the urine over 24 hours. Metabolism does not contribute significantly to the total clearance of either drug. Concomitant oral probenecid decreases both the renal clearance of cidofovir and the incidence of nephrotoxicity, presumably by blocking its active tubular secretion. This is the basis of the clinical use of concomitant probenecid as a nephroprotectant during cidofovir therapy. Subcutaneous administration produces exposure equivalent to that following intravenous administration.

Drug interaction studies with cidofovir are ongoing, but there is no evidence of an interaction between zidovudine and either cidofovir or adefovir. Clearance of cidofovir in patients with renal impairment showed a linear relationship to creatinine clearance. The low oral bioavailability of adefovir has led to the development of an oral prodrug, adefovir dipivoxil, currently in development for the treatment of HIV and hepatitis B infections.

Copyright information

© Adis International Limited 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Gilead Sciences Inc.Foster CityUSA

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