Drug Safety

, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 77–85

Use of Antifungal Drugs in Pregnancy

A Focus on Safety
Practical Drug Safety

DOI: 10.2165/00002018-200023010-00005

Cite this article as:
Sobel, J.D. Drug-Safety (2000) 23: 77. doi:10.2165/00002018-200023010-00005


The use of antifungals in pregnancy requires special consideration for the safety of the developing fetus. Clinicians now have an increased repertoire of both topical and systemic antimycotics available to treat superficial or mucotaneous fungal infections including Candida vaginitis. The ability of many nontopical antifungals to penetrate the placenta and achieve measurable, often therapeutic, concentrations in cord blood, fetal tissue and amniotic fluid means that evidence exists of successful treatment of all varieties of systemic fungal disease in pregnant women, even with placental involvement. However, for the same reasons, safety considerations remain a concern.

Although the use of azoles as topical agents for superficial infections is both efficacious and well tolerated, especially when used for short periods, systemic azole therapy is not recommended in pregnancy. Accordingly, amphotericin B remains the drug of choice for systemic, invasive mycotic infections, whether life-threatening or less severe. Unfortunately little if any information is available regarding the safety of the newer lipid formulations of amphotericin B.

There is a general reluctance to perform randomised, comparative studies involving antifungal agents in pregnancy, hence cumulative anecdotal reports form much of the available data; animal studies, although useful, have several drawbacks. There is a need for additional safe and effective new antifungal agents for widespread use in pregnant women.

Copyright information

© Adis International Limited 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Internal MedicineWayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit Medical Center, Harper HospitalDetroitUSA