Although discontinuation of suppressive antifungal therapy for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)-associated histoplasmosis is accepted for patients with immunologic recovery, there have been no published studies of this approach in clinical practice, and minimal characterization of individuals who relapse with this disease. We performed a multicenter retrospective cohort study to determine the outcome in AIDS patients following discontinuation of suppressive antifungal therapy for histoplasmosis.
Ninety-seven patients were divided into a physician-discontinued suppressive therapy group (PD) (38 patients) and a physician-continued suppressive therapy group (PC) (59 patients). The 2 groups were not statistically different at baseline, but at discontinuation of therapy and at the most recent follow-up there were significant differences in adherence to therapy, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) RNA, and urinary Histoplasma antigen concentration. There was no relapse or death attributed to histoplasmosis in the PD group compared with 36% relapse (p < 0.0001) and 5% death (p = 0.28) in the PC group. Relapse occurred in 53% of the nonadherent patients but not in the adherent patients (p < 0.0001). Sixty-seven percent of patients with initial central nervous system (CNS) histoplasmosis relapsed compared to 15% of patients without CNS involvement (p = 0.0004), which may be accounted for by nonadherence. In addition, patients with antigenuria above 2.0 ng/mL at 1-year follow-up were 12.82 times (95% confidence interval, 2.91–55.56) more likely to relapse compared to those with antigenuria below 2.0 ng/mL.
Discontinuation of antifungal therapy was safe in adherent patients who completed at least 1 year of antifungal treatment, and had CD4 counts >150 cells/mL, HIV RNA <400 c/mL, Histoplasma antigenuria <2 ng/mL (equivalent to <4.0 units in second-generation method), and no CNS histoplasmosis.