Effects of itraconazole therapy in allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis

Chest. 1999 Dec;116(6):1665-8. doi: 10.1378/chest.116.6.1665.


Study objectives: Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA) is the result of an immune reaction to antigens of Aspergillus fumigatus, which colonizes the bronchial lumen of affected individuals. Presently, the recommended treatment of ABPA, mainly for acute episodes of exacerbations, is administration of glucocorticoids. We initiated this study to analyze the effects of itraconazole on the clinical, biological, and functional parameters in patients with ABPA.

Patients: in this report, we describe the follow-up of 14 asthmatic patients who presented with ABPA. During the 2-year reference period (a 2-year period before the introduction of itraconazole), 14 patients were treated with inhaled corticosteroids and 12 of the 14 received oral glucocorticoids. During the itraconazole treatment period, the patients were treated with oral itraconazole, 200 mg/d, for at least 12 months.

Results: During the 2-year reference period, no significant clinical, immunologic, and functional improvement was observed on a long-term basis. During the itraconazole treatment period, a clinical improvement was observed. Blood eosinophilia, serum total IgE levels, and serum precipitating antibodies against A fumigatus antigen significantly decreased. No decrease of specific IgE against A fumigatus spp was observed. All patients experienced a partial improvement in pulmonary function tests: FEV(1) significantly increased from 1,433 +/- 185 to 1,785 +/- 246 mL/s (p < 0.01). All patients successfully lowered oral glucocorticoid dose when receiving itraconazole. In 7 of 14 patients receiving itraconazole, the removal of oral glucocorticoids was possible.

Conclusion: These results demonstrate the efficacy of itraconazole in ABPA in reducing or eliminating the need for glucocorticoid therapy, along with clinical, biological, and functional improvement.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antifungal Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Aspergillosis, Allergic Bronchopulmonary / drug therapy*
  • Aspergillosis, Allergic Bronchopulmonary / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Itraconazole / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antifungal Agents
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Itraconazole