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A retrospective analysis showed that Pfizer's antifungal agent, voriconazole (VFEND), is more effective than amphotericin B deoxycholate in the initial treatment of invasive aspergillosis, a severe pulmonary infection that can occur in immunosuppressed patients. The fungus Aspergillosis grows on dead leaves, stored grain, bird droppings, compost piles, or other decaying vegetation. Patients who began treatment with VFEND were less likely to require salvage therapy, which is given after the infection has not responded to initial treatment or when the patient does not tolerate the medication. The fatality rate is estimated at 58%, but increases from 90% to 100% when the fungal infection spreads beyond the primary site. In the Global Comparative Aspergillosis Study, 144 patients with confirmed or probable invasive aspergillosis began treatment with VFEND, and 133 patients began treatment with amphotericin B. The data analysis showed that 35% of VFEND patients required salvage therapy, while 80% of amphotericin B patients required salvage therapy. Analysts also discovered that 55% of patients treated with VFEND alone had a successful outcome, compared with 4% of patients taking amphotericin B alone. Lead author Thomas Patterson, MD, FACP, of the University of Texas Health Science Center said of the study, "Our analysis demonstrates that voriconazole's efficacy and tolerability make it an important choice for first-line therapy."
Ms. Farley is a freelance medical writer based in Wakefield, RI.