Cryptococcal meningitis, often seen in immunocompromised hosts, is also a disease of the immune-competent individual.
The diagnosis of cryptococcal meningitis requires a lumbar puncture with measurement of the opening pressure, standard laboratory assessment including cell count, protein and glucose, fungal culture, and cryptococcal polysaccharide antigen. Serum cryptococcal antigen is of great diagnostic value in individuals infected with HIV.
Hospital admission for initial therapy with amphotericin B desoxycholate is required.
Adjuvant oral therapy with flucytosine for the first 2 weeks of therapy is strongly recommended. If flucytosine is not well tolerated, it may be discontinued with close monitoring and follow-up of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) response to therapy.
Good hydration and appropriate premedication concomitant to the use of amphotericin B are useful interventions preventing side effects. Occasionally, amphotericin B needs to be discontinued due to intolerance or side effects.
After CSF sterilization is completed, therapy can be switched to oral fluconazole.
Fluconazole is well absorbed orally. There is rarely a need to give intravenous fluconazole.
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