Antifungal Drug Resistance: Clinical Relevance and Impact of Antifungal Drug Use
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- Drew, R.H. & Townsend, M.L. Curr Fungal Infect Rep (2010) 4: 129. doi:10.1007/s12281-010-0013-y
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Antifungal drug resistance significantly impacts treatment outcomes in patients with invasive fungal infections (IFIs). Although primary (intrinsic) resistance may occur independent of previous therapy, prior concomitant antifungal exposure increases the risk for secondary (acquired) resistance and subsequent colonization or infection with less-susceptible pathogens. Among various pathogen-antifungal combinations, this effect has been best studied clinically with azole exposure and the risk of Candida spp. with reduced susceptibility. The rapid development of secondary resistance to flucytosine in Candida spp. has limited its use as monotherapy. Secondary resistance to amphotericin B is infrequent. In contrast, secondary resistance in Aspergillus spp. is less of a concern. Recent reports of secondary resistance in patients receiving fluconazole for cryptococcal infections may justify susceptibility testing in the setting of prior therapy or treatment failure. Despite numerous patient-focused, drug-focused, and disease-focused strategies to improve treatment outcomes, clinical resistance (manifesting as treatment failures despite adequate antifungal therapy) continues to be problematic in patients with serious IFIs.