Rev Esp Quimioter 2008;21(Núm. Ext. 1):14-25

Up-date on the treatment of serious fungal infections

M. Borges Sá 


Introduction. In recent years, there has been an exponential increase in the incidence of severe fungal infections with elevated morbidity-mortality. An attempt is currently being made to obtain faster and more reliable diagnostic tests for a certainty diagnosis and to be able to use clinical criteria to identify patients who could be candidates to receive early antifungal treatment and thus be able to improve the prognosis.

Sources. For the purposes of this article, we reviewed the indexed literature for the last 15 years. We used different key words: invasive fungal infection (IFI), invasive aspergillosis, candidemia, and candidiasis, emerging fungi, prophylaxis and antifungal treatment (empiric, directed and pre-emptive treatment).

Development. The approach to antifungal treatment is also undergoing significant changes. These go from the appearance of new molecules, new generations of other already known ones and also changes in the more «traditional» approach in its use. This article is structured on the use slope of antifungal agents in non-neutropenic critical patients from their prophylaxis, empiric treatment, aimed towards new strategies (pre-emptive treatment or early therapy or combined use of antifungal agents). Furthermore, an attempt is being made to obtain simple scores to indicate their early onset in patients with high risk of IFI.

Conclusions. The combination of rapid identification of patients with risk (scores), faster diagnostic methods and finally more effective antifungal treatment with the providing of new antifungal agents and/or strategies will be essential to try to decrease the elevated morbidity-mortality in severe patients.


Key words:Invasive fungal infections. Candidemia. Invasive aspergilosis. Antifungal therapy. Pre-emptive treatment.

Rev Esp Quimioter 2008;21(Núm. Ext. 1):14-25  [pdf]