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Comparison of echinocandin antifungals

Authors Gregory Eschenauer, Daryl D DePestel, Peggy L Carver

Published 15 March 2007 Volume 2007:3(1) Pages 71—97

Gregory Eschenauer1, 2, Daryl D DePestel1, 2, Peggy L Carver1, 2

1Department of Pharmacy Services, University of Michigan Health System; 2Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Pharmacy, University of Michigan

Abstract: The incidence of invasive fungal infections, especially those due to Aspergillus spp. and Candida spp., continues to increase. Despite advances in medical practice, the associated mortality from these infections continues to be substantial. The echinocandin antifungals provide clinicians with another treatment option for serious fungal infections. These agents possess a completely novel mechanism of action, are relatively well-tolerated, and have a low potential for serious drug–drug interactions. At the present time, the echinocandins are an option for the treatment of infections due Candida spp (such as esophageal candidiasis, invasive candidiasis, and candidemia). In addition, caspofungin is a viable option for the treatment of refractory aspergillosis. Although micafungin is not Food and Drug Administration-approved for this indication, recent data suggests that it may also be effective. Finally, caspofungin- or micafungin-containing combination therapy should be a consideration for the treatment of severe infections due to Aspergillus spp. Although the echinocandins share many common properties, data regarding their differences are emerging at a rapid pace. Anidulafungin exhibits a unique pharmacokinetic profile, and limited cases have shown a potential far activity in isolates with increased minimum inhibitory concentrations to caspofungin and micafungin. Caspofungin appears to have a slightly higher incidence of side effects and potential for drug–drug interactions. This, combined with some evidence of decreasing susceptibility among some strains of Candida, may lessen its future utility. However, one must take these findings in the context of substantially more data and use with caspofungin compared with the other agents. Micafungin appears to be very similar to caspofungin, with very few obvious differences between the two agents.

Keywords: echinocandins, caspofungin, anidulafungin, micafungin, pharmacokinetics, antifungals

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