Treatment of severe forms of paracoccidioidomycosis: is there a role for corticosteroids?

Med Mycol. 2012 Aug;50(6):641-8. doi: 10.3109/13693786.2011.654135. Epub 2012 Feb 7.


Despite their immunosuppressive effects, corticosteroids have long been used as adjunct therapy (aCST) in the treatment of infectious diseases. The rationale is that in certain infections it is necessary to decrease the exacerbated host's inflammatory response, which can otherwise result in tissue damage and organ dysfunction. In fact, a major concern in treating paracoccidioidomycosis (PCM) is the host's intense inflammatory response to Paracoccidioides brasiliensis, which can be further intensified by antifungal therapy. Depending on its localization, this immunological phenomenon may be life threatening or result in permanent sequels, as is the case for some patients with cerebral or laryngeal involvement. However, the literature on aCST in paracoccidioidomycosis treatment is scarce and as a result we present our recent experience in the management of four patients with severe PCM manifestations, i.e., cerebral paracoccidioidal granuloma, laryngeal stenosis, compressive abdominal mass, and exacerbated inflammatory response with tissue destruction. In addition to the antifungal therapy, these patients required aCST, which probably promoted their clinical improvement and/or prevented serious complications. We suggest that aCST: (a) can potentially help in the management of selected cases of severe forms of PCM, particularly when there is a risk of acute complications, and (b) that it can be used safely provided that the risk-benefit ratio is carefully weighed. Well-controlled, prospective studies of aCST in the treatment of severe cases of paracoccidioidomycosis are needed to better define its role in the management of PCM.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use*
  • Adult
  • Antifungal Agents / therapeutic use
  • Biopsy
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Laryngostenosis / microbiology
  • Larynx / microbiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Paracoccidioides / immunology
  • Paracoccidioides / isolation & purification
  • Paracoccidioides / pathogenicity*
  • Paracoccidioidomycosis / drug therapy*
  • Paracoccidioidomycosis / immunology
  • Paracoccidioidomycosis / microbiology
  • Radiography
  • Risk Assessment
  • Trimethoprim, Sulfamethoxazole Drug Combination / therapeutic use


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Antifungal Agents
  • Trimethoprim, Sulfamethoxazole Drug Combination