Efficacy of antifungal drugs in the treatment of oral candidiasis: A Bayesian network meta-analysis

J Prosthet Dent. 2021 Feb;125(2):257-265. doi: 10.1016/j.prosdent.2019.12.025. Epub 2020 Mar 10.


Statement of problem: The comparative efficacy of antifungal drugs on oral candidiasis remains unclear.

Purpose: The purpose of this Bayesian network meta-analysis was to investigate the efficacy of antifungal drugs on oral candidiasis.

Material and methods: Databases, including PubMed, The Cochrane Library, and Web of Science, were accessed from the dates of their establishment to October, 2018, to collect randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of different antifungal drugs for oral candidiasis. A network meta-analysis was then conducted by using R and Stata 12.0 software programs.

Results: A total of 31 RCTs involving 4042 participants were included. The meta-analysis showed that, in the treatment of oral candidiasis in reducing the mycological cure rate, itraconazole capsules, itraconazole oral solution, miconazole buccal tablets, miconazole oral gel, clotrimazole, fluconazole, ketoconazole, nystatin, and amphotericin B were better than a placebo. Miconazole oral gel, fluconazole, and ketoconazole were better than nystatin. The network meta-analysis also showed that the effects of antifungal drugs in reducing the mycological cure rate in oral candidiasis were better than those of a placebo: itraconazole capsule (OR=1.20, 95% CrI: 1.07-1.34), itraconazole oral solution (OR=1.50, 95% CrI: 1.14-1.86), miconazole buccal tablet (OR=2.80, 95% CrI: 1.20-4.50), miconazole oral gel (OR=2.90, 95% CrI: 1.70-4.30), clotrimazole (OR=3.80, 95% CrI: 1.65-5.95), fluconazole (OR=2.40, 95% CrI: 1.10-3.80), ketoconazole (OR=3.40, 95% CrI: 1.76-7.04), nystatin (OR=2.50, 95% CrI: 1.43-3.57), and amphotericin B (OR=2.60, 95% CrI: 1.91-3.29). The SUCRA values for each antifungal drug were as follows: placebo (6.80%), itraconazole capsule (51.2%), itraconazole oral solution (75.2%), miconazole buccal tablet (34.4%), miconazole oral gel (76.9%), clotrimazole (64.8%), fluconazole (79.3%), ketoconazole (50.7%), nystatin (15.7%), and amphotericin B (44.4%).

Conclusions: Antifungal drugs have efficacy in the treatment of oral candidiasis. The effect of fluconazole in reducing the risk of the mycological cure rate in oral candidiasis was better than that of other drugs.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antifungal Agents / therapeutic use
  • Candidiasis, Oral* / drug therapy
  • Fluconazole
  • Humans
  • Network Meta-Analysis
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations*


  • Antifungal Agents
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • Fluconazole