Caspofungin: a review of its use in oesophageal candidiasis, invasive candidiasis and invasive aspergillosis.
Authors: Keating G,Figgitt D,
Address: Adis International Limited, Auckland, New Zealand. email@example.com
Echinocandins are a new class of antifungal agents with a novel mechanism of action (interference with fungal cell wall synthesis). Caspofungin (Cancidas), Caspofungin MSD) is the first echinocandin to be approved and is administered intravenously. Caspofungin 50 mg/day had similar efficacy to intravenous fluconazole 200 mg/day and was at least as effective as intravenous amphotericin B 0.5 mg/kg/day in patients with oesophageal candidiasis in two randomised, double-blind studies. A favourable combined clinical and endoscopic response occurred in 81% of caspofungin recipients versus 85% of fluconazole recipients and in 74% of caspofungin recipients versus 63% of amphotericin B recipients. A favourable combined response rate of approximate, equals 90% and approximate, equals 60% occurred in the stratum of patients with oesophageal candidiasis who received caspofungin or amphotericin B in a third randomised, double-blind study. Caspofungin (70 mg loading dose followed by 50 mg/day) had similar efficacy to intravenous amphotericin B (0.7-1.0 mg/kg/day in patients with neutropenia and 0.6-0.7 mg/kg/day in patients without neutropenia) in patients with invasive candidiasis in a double-blind, randomised trial. A favourable overall response occurred in 73.4% of caspofungin recipients and in 61.7% of amphotericin B recipients. In a noncomparative study, salvage therapy with caspofungin (70 mg loading dose followed by 50 mg/day) was effective in patients with invasive aspergillosis who were refractory to or did not tolerate standard antifungal therapy. A favourable response (complete plus partial response) occurred in 37 of 83 patients (45%). Caspofungin was generally well tolerated in clinical trials; it had similar tolerability to intravenous fluconazole and was better tolerated than intravenous amphotericin B. Significantly fewer caspofungin than amphotericin B recipients reported chills, fever, nausea or infusion-related adverse events. In conclusion, caspofungin is a valuable new antifungal agent with a novel mechanism of action. In comparative trials, caspofungin had similar efficacy to fluconazole and was at least as effective as amphotericin B in oesophageal candidiasis and had similar efficacy to amphotericin B in invasive candidiasis. In addition, caspofungin had similar tolerability to fluconazole and was better tolerated than amphotericin B in these indications. Caspofungin was also effective in patients with invasive aspergillosis who were refractory to or intolerant of standard antifungal agents. Thus, caspofungin provides an alternative to triazoles or amphotericin B in oesophageal candidiasis and an alternative to amphotericin B in invasive candidiasis, as well as being an effective salvage therapy in invasive aspergillosis.
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