Antifungal agents. Part II. The azoles

Mayo Clinic Proceedings
C L Terrell

Abstract

Before 1978, amphotericin B and flucytosine were the only drugs available for the treatment of systemic fungal infections. The imidazoles, miconazole and ketoconazole, were introduced during the next 3 years. Intravenously administered miconazole served a limited therapeutic role and is no longer available. Orally administered ketoconazole, an inexpensive, effective, and convenient option for treating mucosal candidiasis, was widely used for a decade because it was the only available oral therapy for systemic fungal infections. During the 1990s, use of ketoconazole diminished because of the release of the triazoles--fluconazole and itraconazole. Fluconazole is less toxic and has several pharmacologic advantages over ketoconazole, including penetration into the cerebrospinal fluid. In addition, it has superior efficacy against systemic candidiasis, cryptococcosis, and coccidioidomycosis. Despite a myriad of drug interactions and less favorable pharmacologic and toxicity profiles in comparison with fluconazole, itraconazole has become a valuable addition to the antifungal armamentarium. It has excellent activity against sporotrichosis and seems promising in the treatment of aspergillosis. Itraconazole has replaced ketoconazole as...Continue Reading

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