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Penetration Profile of Terbinafine Compared to Amorolfine in Mycotic Human Toenails Quantified by Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization-Fourier Transform Ion Cyclotron Resonance Imaging.

INTRODUCTION: Amorolfine 5% lacquer is an established topical treatment for fungal infection of the nails. The success of topical therapy for onychomycosis depends on whether the permeated drug concentration in the deep nail bed is retained above the effective antifungal minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC). We compared the penetration profile of amorolfine and a new topical formula of terbinafine in human mycotic toenails using matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization mass spectrometry imaging-Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance (MALDI-FTICR) imaging.

METHODS: Amorolfine 5% lacquer and terbinafine 7.8% lacquer were applied to mycotic nails (n = 17); nail sections were prepared, and MALDI-FTICR analysis was performed. Based on the MICs of amorolfine and terbinafine needed to kill 90% (MIC90 ) of Trichophyton rubrum, the fold differences between the MIC90 and the antifungal concentrations in the nails (the multiplicity of the MIC90 ) were calculated overall and for the keratin-unbound fractions.

RESULTS: Both amorolfine and terbinafine penetrated the entire thickness of the nail. The mean concentration across the entire nail section 3 h following terbinafine treatment was 1414 μg/g of tissue (equivalent to 4.9 mM) compared with 780 μg/g (2.5 mM) following amorolfine treatment (not significantly different; p = 0.878). The median multiplicity of the MIC90 was significantly higher in amorolfine- than terbinafine-treated nails overall (191 vs. 48; p = 0.010) and for the keratin-unbound fractions only (7.4 vs. 0.8; p = 0.002).

CONCLUSION: In this ex vivo study, MALDI-FTICR demonstrated that, although amorolfine 5% and terbinafine 7.8% had similar distribution profiles, both penetrating from the surface to the nail bed, the concentration of amorolfine in the nail was significantly higher than that of terbinafine relative to their respective MIC90 values. Clinical studies are required to determine whether these effects translate to a clinical difference in treatment success.

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