Cadila Pharmaceuticals has launched a new triazole antifungal drug Posaconazole, which has been found to be effective against a wide range of invasive fungal diseases. The drug has also been recommended as a second-line treatment for Mucormycosis or black fungus as it is commonly known.
Posaconazole is approved for prophylaxis against Aspergillus and Candida infections in immunocompromised patients at high risk for these infections and oropharyngeal candidiasis (OPC). To be made available under the brand name Posacad, the drug is presently available in suspension and tablet forms, while the injectable form is in the pipeline and is expected to be launched soon.
“Several studies have confirmed that compared with other azole antifungals, Posaconazole is much more effective against many Mucorales species that are responsible for the deadly Mucormycosis infection in COVID-19 patients. In addition to approved indications, posaconazole has been used with success as salvage therapy for invasive mould infections and endemic mycoses in patients who are refractory to or intolerant of other antifungal agents.”, said OP Singh, President of Sales and Marketing at Cadila Pharmaceuticals.
There has been a rapid increase in Mucormycosis cases in India, especially Gujarat, in the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic as a post-COVID complication. The National Task Force on COVID-19 for treatment and management of COVID-related Mucormycosis has recommended Posaconazole, among other drugs for the treatment of Mucormycosis.
Importantly, Posaconazole is much more active than other azoles against many Mucorales species that are responsible for deadly Mucormycosis in COVID 19 patients and the combination of Posaconazole with other antifungal agents may be synergistic. “Hence it is a potential candidate either as a single or combination drug for difficult-to-treat fungal infections,” added Singh.
“We have put in place the systems to ensure supply of the drug to hospitals on a priority basis. We aim to reach over 1,000 hospitals through our 4,000-strong distributor network in the next few weeks,” said Singh.
Posaconazole works by stopping the growth of fungi and has an excellent safety profile. Serious side effects are rare, even in the case of prolonged use.