Treatment of late-onset asthma with fluconazole

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1999 Sep;104(3 Pt 1):541-6. doi: 10.1016/s0091-6749(99)70321-0.


Background: Although the etiology of intrinsic or late-onset asthma is generally not known, some cases are associated with overt dermatophyte infection and immediate hypersensitivity to proteins derived from fungi of the genus Trichophyton.

Objective: We sought to test the efficacy of oral antifungal treatment for Trichophyton-induced asthma by using fluconazole in a placebo-controlled trial.

Methods: Eleven patients with severe or moderately severe asthma were randomized to treatment with fluconazole 100 mg daily or placebo for 5 months (phase 1); during the following 5 months, all patients received active drug (phase 2). Subjects were evaluated by skin tests, bronchial provocation tests, and measurement of serum antibodies to Trichophyton species antigens. Clinical response was monitored by changes in peak flow values measured during a 2-week period at the end of each phase and by changes in bronchial sensitivity, symptoms, and steroid requirements.

Results: At the end of the first 5 months of active treatment, there was a highly significant decrease in bronchial sensitivity to Trichophyton (P =.012) and in oral steroid requirement (P =.01). At the end of phase 2, mean peak expiratory flow rates increased in 9 of 11 patients. An improvement in symptoms, peak flow, and steroid use was maintained up to 36 months after starting fluconazole in patients who continued to receive treatment.

Conclusion: The results show that fluconazole can be useful in the treatment of patients with severe or moderately severe asthma who have dermatophytosis. These findings are consistent with the argument that proteins derived from fungi on the skin and nails can contribute to allergic disease.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Clinical Trial, Phase I
  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology
  • Antifungal Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Asthma / drug therapy*
  • Asthma / immunology
  • Asthma / microbiology
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Fluconazole / therapeutic use*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Histamine
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prednisone / pharmacology
  • Time Factors
  • Tinea / immunology
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Trichophyton / immunology


  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antifungal Agents
  • Histamine
  • Fluconazole
  • Prednisone