Treatment of cryptococcal meningitis in patients with AIDS with amphotericin B plus flucytosine is associated with a failure rate of 20%-30%. In the absence of chronic suppressive therapy, 40%-60% of patients develop recurrent disease. Recent comparative studies have evaluated fluconazole, a new triazole antifungal agent. In primary therapy, fluconazole is associated with response rates of 35%-60%, which are equivalent to those seen with amphotericin B alone. However, a smaller study suggested that amphotericin B plus flucytosine was superior to fluconazole alone. Both studies identified risk factors associated with a poor outcome; these factors include lethargy or obtundation at presentation, a high titer of cryptococcal antigen titer in the cerebrospinal fluid, and a low leukocyte count in the cerebrospinal fluid. Fluconazole is highly effective in suppressing relapses of cryptococcal meningitis. Itraconazole has been investigated less extensively in the treatment of cryptococcosis but offers promise. Future studies need to address alternative approaches to the management of acute cryptococcal disease and primary prophylaxis for cryptococcal infection in patients with AIDS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S54-S59
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Issue number1 SUPPL.
StatePublished - Dec 1 1992


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