Fungal infections of the skin or what doctors call dermatophytosis and to everyone else fungal infections like ringworm, dhobi’s itch / jock itch, or fungal infections of the nails are a growing problem.
According to Dr Jayadev Betkerur, president of the Indian Association of Dermatologists, Venereologists and Leprologists (IADVL), these fungal infections of the skin or dermatophytosis are becoming a serious problem and the cases have been rising over the past few years.
Today, he says, they make for 8 to 10 per cent of all the cases of skin diseases that dermatologists see in the country. These fungal infections (not to mistaken for cases like mucormycosis, in the news more in relation to COVID-19 and requiring different medications) have seen an increase in recent times because of indiscriminate use of anti-fungal drugs and due to use of steroids. To deal with this and to improve the efficacy of these drugs, newer techniques and innovations are being worked upon and therefore newer medicines are now hitting the market.
The key point here is attempts at enhancing the bioavailability and leveraging the drug delivery system better to ensure adequate absorption for required outcomes despite reduced dose of the medicine. In this context, the just announced oral drug launch by Intas Pharmaceuticals and earlier in a different dosage and makeup by Glenmark
Pharma need to be seen.
Intas Pharmaceuticals, a leading Indian pharma company, calls it “a progressive breakthrough in the antifungal therapy domain with the launch of the world’s first Super Bioavailable Itraconazole- SB 100 mg to be sold under the brand name of Itaspor-SB Forte/Subawin.” This follows the product getting approved for marketing by the Indian drug regulator.
The logic, according to Dr Alok Chaturvedi, Senior Vice President & Head – Medical Affairs at Intas Pharmaceuticals, is that “lesser the drug, lower the side effects and in this case, he says, the dosing has been reduced to half but the drug delivery leveraged in such as manner as to enhance the outcome coupled with the advantages of a patient being able to take it with or without a meal”. Add to this, Financial Express Online also learns that the cost is 30 per cent less than if it were to be 200 mg Intraconazole that is traditionally used and since a treatment period, depending on the patient, varies between 3 to 8 weeks, a reduced cost would be an added benefit.
So far, Itraconazole has been the chosen molecule to deal with these fungal infections but Dr Chaturvedi says, “as per published literature and clinicians’ experience, the Itraconazole molecule has low blood drug concentration, affecting safety and efficacy when taken orally. These blood levels highly vary from patient to patient. Moreover, the
recommendation to take it with a full fatty meal and an acidic beverage further reduces patient compliance and adds to the problem of desired blood drug concentration.”
On the studies to showcase better outcomes, Dr Chaturvedi says, “we have conducted the bioequivalence studies with international reference product prepared with super bioavailable technology and have also done these
with the conventional Itraconazole preparations.”