The objective of this study was to assess the comparative efficacy and safety of different antifungal agents used for the treatment of oropharyngeal candidiasis (OPC) in adult patients with HIV. A systematic search was performed on the four major databases (Medline, Embase, CENTRAL and Scopus) to identify randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that evaluated the efficacy of antifungal agents in HIV patients with OPC. A network meta-analysis was performed from the data extracted from the selected studies. The agents were ranked according using surface under the cumulative ranking (SUCRA). The Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach was used to determine the quality of evidence. A total of 15 trials were included in the quantitative analysis involving the data from a total of 2883 participants. Fluconazole was ranked as the most effective antifungal agent to achieve clinical cure (SUCRA = 0.87) in OPC followed by posaconazole and itraconazole. Posaconazole was ranked the most efficacious agent in achieving mycological cure (SUCRA = 0.81), followed by fluconazole. While nystatin was ranked the safest, the effect estimates of none of the other systemic antifungal agents were significantly higher than fluconazole. Based on the available evidence, fluconazole can be considered as the most effective drug in the treatment of OPC among HIV-infected adults and has a favorable safety profile, followed by posaconazole.
Keywords: HIV; antifungal agents; network meta-analysis; oral candidiasis; oropharyngeal candidiasis; prevention; systematic review; treatment.