For the treatment of diarrhea in adults and children caused by the protozoa Giardia lamblia and for the treatment of diarrhea in children caused by the protozoa Cryptosporidium parvum.
Nitazoxanide is an antifolate containing the pyrrolopyrimidine-based nucleus that exerts its antineoplastic activity by disrupting folate-dependent metabolic processes essential for cell replication. In vitro studies have shown that nitazoxanide inhibits thymidylate synthase (TS), dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR), and glycinamide ribonucleotide formyltransferase (GARFT), all folate-dependent enzymes involved in the de novo biosynthesis of thymidine and purine nucleotides. Nitazoxanide is transported into cells by both the reduced folate carrier and membrane folate binding protein transport systems. Once in the cell, nitazoxanide is converted to polyglutamate forms by the enzyme folylpolyglutamate synthetase. The polyglutamate forms are retained in cells and are inhibitors of TS and GARFT. Polyglutamation is a time- and concentration-dependent process that occurs in tumor cells and, to a lesser extent, in normal tissues. Polyglutamated metabolites have an increased intracellular half-life resulting in prolonged drug action in malignant cells.
Mode of Action:
The antiprotozoal activity of nitazoxanide is believed to be due to interference with the pyruvate:ferredoxin oxidoreductase (PFOR) enzyme-dependent electron transfer reaction which is essential to anaerobic energy metabolism. Studies have shown that the PFOR enzyme from Giardia lamblia directly reduces nitazoxanide by transfer of electrons in the absence of ferredoxin. The DNA-derived PFOR protein sequence of Cryptosporidium parvum appears to be similar to that of Giardia lamblia. Interference with the PFOR enzyme-dependent electron transfer reaction may not be the only pathway by which nitazoxanide exhibits antiprotozoal activity.
Rapidly hydrolyzed to an active metabolite, tizoxanide (desacetyl-nitazoxanide), followed by conjugation, primarily by glucuronidation to tizoxanide glucuronide.
In acute studies in rodents and dogs, the oral LD50 was higher than 10,000 mg/kg. Single oral doses of up to 4000 mg nitazoxanide have been administered to healthy adult volunteers without significant adverse effects.
Parasitic infections. Am J Transplant. 2004 Nov;4 Suppl 10:142-55. Pubmed
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