The echinocandins are a novel class of antifungal agents that have come into use over the past 10 years. The mechanism of action of these lipopeptide agents is via noncompetitive inhibition of the synthesis of 1,3-β-glucans, which are fungal cell wall constituents. All agents of this class are only available in an intravenous formulation. The first approved agent of this class was caspofungin (Cancidas®). Caspofungin is a therapeutic option for patients with candidal esophagitis and deep-seated candidal infections, and is an alternative therapy for Aspergillus infections, especially in the salvage setting. In addition, it is a therapeutic option for the empiric therapy of febrile neutropenia. The usefulness of this agent in treating less common fungal infections has been cited in anecdotal reports. One major limitation of this drug is the lack of an oral formulation. Caspofungin may be considered as a component of combination antifungal regimens. Caspofungin represents a significant advance in the care of patients with serious fungal infections.
- Antifungal therapy
- Fungal infections