Topical Treatment of Recurrent Vulvovaginal Candidiasis: An Expert Consensus

Womens Health Rep (New Rochelle). 2022 Jan 31;3(1):38-42. doi: 10.1089/whr.2021.0065. eCollection 2022.


Background: Recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis (RVVC), defined as three or more confirmed infections over 1 year, occurs in up to 10% of women. In these women, the objective is often symptomatic control rather than mycologic cure. Current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines recommend oral fluconazole as first-line maintenance, but state if this oral regimen is not feasible, intermittent topical treatments can be considered. No specific recommendations for type or frequency of topical applications are provided by the CDC. Methods: A panel of vulvovaginal experts convened to develop a consensus recommendation for topical maintenance dosing for RVVC. Results: Data suggest that clotrimazole, miconazole, terconazole, and intravaginal boric acid are suggested recommendations for recurrent vulvovaginitis caused by both Candida albicans and nonalbicans species. Nystatin ovules may not be as effective as azoles. Identification of species will influence treatment decisions. In addition, treatment may be modified based on prior response to a specific agent, especially in nonalbicans species. Fluconazole, ibrexafungerp, and intravaginal boric acid should be avoided during pregnancy. Conclusions: The expert consensus for women with RVVC is an initial full course of treatment followed by topical maintenance beginning at one to three times weekly, based on chosen agent. Twice a week dosing was the regimen most often utilized. In some women, episodic treatment may be used, but maintenance should remain an option for this population.

Keywords: candidiasis; consensus review; recurrent yeast; topical therapy; vulvovaginitis.