Management of invasive fungal infections: a role for polyenes

J Antimicrob Chemother. 2011 Mar;66(3):457-65. doi: 10.1093/jac/dkq479. Epub 2010 Dec 14.


The spectrum of invasive fungal infections (IFIs) continues to evolve with the emergence of rare and resistant fungal pathogens. Clinicians are faced with difficult diagnostic and treatment challenges in the management of immunocompromised patients at high risk of developing IFIs. Early and appropriate antifungal therapy is essential for a successful outcome when treating invasive mycoses. The armamentarium of antifungal drugs continues to grow; the three main classes of commonly administered drugs are the polyenes, azoles and echinocandins. The newer triazoles and the echinocandins have changed primary treatment options for some fungal infections, such as aspergillosis and candidiasis. However, despite their toxic potential, the oldest antifungal drugs, polyenes, remain useful in the treatment of IFIs because of their broad-spectrum activity, low rates of resistance and established clinical record, particularly in immunocompromised patients with breakthrough fungal infections. This review highlights important issues in the treatment of IFIs for consideration by clinicians.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antifungal Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Azoles / therapeutic use
  • Echinocandins / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Mycoses / diagnosis
  • Mycoses / drug therapy*
  • Polyenes / therapeutic use*


  • Antifungal Agents
  • Azoles
  • Echinocandins
  • Polyenes