Antifungal pharmacotherapy for invasive mould infections.
The incidence of invasive mould infections is increasing and is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Among the most prevalent of these infections are those caused by Aspergillus and Fusarium species. Invasive disease caused by moulds frequently presents as a pulmonary infection, but haematogenous infection can occur. Some moulds cause cutaneous disease through either direct inoculation of the skin or secondary spread to the skin after dissemination from another body site. Early diagnosis can often be difficult and, unfortunately, diagnosis occurs late in the course of illness in many cases. Treatment options have historically been limited by the need for intravenous administration (amphotericin B), significant toxicities (amphotericin B), lack of reliable in vitro activity (e.g., amphotericin B in Fusarium and Scedosporium apiospermum infections) and relative lack of clinical experience with newer agents. The recent approval of voriconazole (Vfend, Pfizer) introduces a treatment option that demonstrates both in vitro and in vivo activity against a variety of moulds. With the recent development of the new echinocandin class of antifungal agents and newer broad-spectrum azole antifungal agents with in vitro mould activity, there is a renewed emphasis on fungal treatment strategies. Antimould therapy presents challenges in adverse effect avoidance and management, drug interactions and pharmacoeconomic considerations. Furthermore, combination therapy is being explored with these various new antifungal agents. The administration of an optimal fungicidal therapy early in the course of the illness and control of the underlying disease are vital to prevent complications and mortality from these tenacious mycoses.
Gallagher, JC; Dodds Ashley, ES; Drew, RH; Perfect, JR
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