DOI: 10.1055/s-0043-1776776 ISSN: 1069-3424

Antifungal Therapies for Aspergillus spp.: Present and Future

Gregory A. Eschenauer
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


Currently available and recommended options for the treatment of pulmonary aspergillosis include the triazoles, echinocandins, and amphotericin B products. These therapies have significant limitations. Only the azoles are available orally, but their use is often limited by toxicities, drug–drug interactions, pharmacokinetic variability, and emerging resistance. While the echinocandins are safe agents and may have a role in combination therapy, they are unproven as monotherapy. Amphotericin B preparations are toxic and require intensive monitoring. Finally, aspergillosis continues to be a disease conferring substantial morbidity and mortality, and clinical trials have not identified a therapeutic approach clearly associated with improved outcomes. As a result, there is a great need for new options in the treatment of invasive aspergillosis. Ideally, such options would be safe, have high oral bioavailability, have favorable pharmacokinetics to sequestered sites and retain activity against azole-resistant isolates. Reassuringly, there is a robust pipeline of novel therapies in development. Rezafungin (a once-weekly dosed echinocandin) and ibrexafungerp (oral agent with same mechanism of action as echinocandins) will likely be reserved for combination therapy or refractory/intolerance scenarios with no other options. Inhaled opelconazole is an attractive option for combination therapy and prophylaxis of pulmonary aspergillosis. Development of an oral form of amphotericin B that avoids nephrotoxicity and electrolyte disturbances is an exciting development. Finally, olorofim and fosmanogepix, two agents with novel mechanisms of action and oral formulations, hold significant potential to challenge the triazole antifungals place as preferred therapies. However, many questions remain regarding these novel agents, and at the time of this writing, none of these agents have been robustly studied in Phase III studies of aspergillosis, and so their promise remains investigational.

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