Practice guidelines for the treatment of candidiasis

John H. Rex, Thomas J. Walsh, Jack D. Sobel, Scott G. Filler, Peter G. Pappas, William E. Dismukes, John E. Edwards

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

755 Scopus citations


Infections due to Candida species are the most common of the fungal infections. Candida species produce a broad range of infections, ranging from non-life-threatening mucocutaneous illnesses to invasive process that may involve virtually any organ. Such a broad range of infections requires an equally broad range of diagnostic and therapeutic strategies. This document summarizes current knowledge about treatment of multiple forms of candidiasis and is the guideline of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) for the treatment of candidiasis. Throughout this document, treatment recommendations are scored according to the standard scoring scheme used in other IDSA guidelines to illustrate the strength of the underlying data. The document covers 4 major topical areas. The role of the microbiology laboratory. To a greater extent than for other fungi, treatment of candidiasis can now be guided by in vitro susceptibility testing. The guidelines review the available information supporting current testing procedures and interpretive breakpoints and place these data into clinical context. Susceptibility testing is most helpful in dealing with infection due to non-albicans species of Candida. In this setting, especially if the patient has been treated previously with an azole antifungal agent, the possibility of microbiological resistance must be considered. Treatment of invasive candidiasis. In addition to acute hematogenous candidiasis, the guidelines review strategies for treatment of 15 other forms of invasive candidiasis. Extensive data from randomized trials are really available only for therapy of acute hematogenous candidiasis in the nonneutropenic adult. Choice of therapy for other forms of candidiasis is based on case series and anecdotal reports. In general, both amphotericin B and the azoles have a role to play in treatment. Choice of therapy is guided by weighing the greater activity of amphotericin B for some non-albicans species (e.g., Candida krusei) against the lesser toxicity and ease of administration of the azole antifungal agents. Flucytosine has activity against many isolates of Candida but is not often used. Treatment of mucocutaneous candidiasis. Therapy for mucosal infections is dominated by the azole antifungal agents. These drugs may be used topically or systemically and have been proven safe and efficacious. A significant problem with mucosal disease is the propensity for a small proportion of patients to suffer repeated relapses. In some situations, the explanation for such a relapse is obvious (e.g., relapsing oropharyngeal candidiasis in an individual with advanced and uncontrolled HIV infection), but in other patients the cause is cryptic (e.g., relapsing vaginitis in a healthy woman). Rational strategies for these situations are discussed in the guidelines and must consider the possibility of induction of resistance over time. Prevention of invasive candidiasis. Prophylactic strategies are useful if the risk of a target disease is sharply elevated in a readily identified group of patients. Selected patient groups undergoing therapy that produces prolonged neutropenia (e.g., some bone-marrow transplant recipients) or who receive a solid-organ transplant (e.g., some liver transplant recipients) have a sufficient risk of invasive candidiasis to warrant prophylaxis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)662-678
Number of pages17
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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