Published opinion has generally favored amphotericin B over fluconazole as initial therapy for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome—associated cryptococcosis, although data that support this recommendation are limited.
Retrospective review of 30 consecutive patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome— associated cryptococcosis seen at a single institution over a 1-year period and given fluconazole, 400 mg/d, as initial therapy.
No patient died within the first 30 days of therapy, and none of the 14 patients who died within 1 year had clinically detectable infection when last seen or at death. Pretreatment blood cultures were positive in 26 of 27 patients; cerebrospinal fluid cryptococcal antigen titer was greater than 1:1024 in 12 of 23 patients; and five of 30 patients presented with altered mental status. The median CD4 count at diagnosis was 0.042 ×109/L (42/μL). Eight of 25 patients who were followed up for more than 30 days relapsed, as evidenced by a positive culture; all relapses were successfully treated with fluconazole, either by reinstitution of therapy or by increase of dosage.
This experience supports the use of fluconazole as initial therapy for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome—associated cryptococcosis.(Arch Intern Med. 1995;155:538-540)