Adverse effects of antifungal therapies in invasive fungal infections: review and meta-analysis


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Abstract

Amphotericin B is the main therapeutic agent for the treatment of invasive fungal infections; however, it is associated with significant toxicities that limit its use. Other systemic antifungal agents have been developed to improve tolerability while maintaining the efficacy profile of conventional amphotericin B. Fifty-four studies involving 9,228 patients were assessed for the frequency of adverse effects of the main systemic antifungal agents. While the results suggest that liposomal amphotericin B (L-AmB) is the least nephrotoxic of the lipid formulations (14.6%), that conventional amphotericin B (AmB) is the most nephrotoxic (33.2%), and that itraconazole is the most hepatotoxic (31.5%), the lack of standard definitions of antifungal-related adverse effects limits the validity of these results. Furthermore, heterogeneous patient pools and differing protocols make it difficult to draw direct comparisons between studies. With the advent of newer classes of systemic antifungal agents, future trials should conform to definitions that are universally applicable and clinically relevant to allow for such comparisons and to enable evidence-based decision-making.

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