A retrospective analysis showed thatPfizer's antifungal agent, voriconazole(VFEND), is more effective than amphotericinB deoxycholate in the initial treatmentof invasive aspergillosis, a severepulmonary infection that can occur inimmunosuppressed patients. The fungusAspergillosis grows on dead leaves,stored grain, bird droppings, compostpiles, or other decaying vegetation.Patients who began treatment withVFEND were less likely to require salvagetherapy, which is given after the infectionhas not responded to initial treatment orwhen the patient does not tolerate themedication. The fatality rate is estimatedat 58%, but increases from 90% to 100%when the fungal infection spreadsbeyond the primary site. In the GlobalComparative Aspergillosis Study, 144patients with confirmed or probableinvasive aspergillosis began treatmentwith VFEND, and 133 patients begantreatment with amphotericin B. The dataanalysis showed that 35% of VFENDpatients required salvage therapy, while80% of amphotericin B patients requiredsalvage therapy. Analysts also discoveredthat 55% of patients treated with VFENDalone had a successful outcome, comparedwith 4% of patients taking amphotericinB alone. Lead author ThomasPatterson, MD, FACP, of the University ofTexas Health Science Center said of thestudy, "Our analysis demonstrates thatvoriconazole's efficacy and tolerabilitymake it an important choice for first-linetherapy."
Ms. Farley is a freelance medicalwriter based in Wakefield, RI.