A new treatment for Candida species of fungi which can cause thrush and sepsis (a life-threatening infection leading to fever, hypotension, and shock) has proven equally effective as the existing treatment in a drug trial.
But the new drug has fewer side effects, claims an article published Online and in an upcoming edition of The Lancet.
Infections caused by Candida fungi have become increasingly prevalent in recent years, and problems associated with long established treatments are well known.
Researchers led by Oliver Cornely, of The University Hospital of Cologne, Germany, tested the effectiveness of two well known treatments, liposomal amphotericin B and micafungin, against the common infections candidaemia and invasive candidosis.
A total of 531 patients with these infections were split into two groups and given either micafungin 100mg per day or liposomal amphotericin B 3mg per kg body weight daily. The success rate of both drugs was almost exactly the same – 89.6% for micofungin versus 89.6% for liposomal amphotericin B.
The effectiveness of either treatment was independent of primary site of infection and the patient’s immune status, and whether or not a catheter had been fitted during treatment.
But micafungin produced fewer treatment related side effects than liposomal amphotericin B. Increased problems with kidney function, as well as higher occurrence of problems during drug administration, were observed in the patients receiving liposomal amphotericin B.
The authors conclude: “Our results establish micafungin as a treatment option for first-line therapy of candidaemia and invasive candidosis.”
They add: “Micafungin also has broad-spectrum activity against Aspergillosis spp, thus to assess its efficacy in the treatment of invasive aspergillosis will be an important future goal.”