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Ann Pharmacother. 2012 Jan;46(1):108-16. doi: 10.1345/aph.1Q346. Epub 2011 Dec 20.

Echinocandin use in the neonatal intensive care unit.

Author information

  • 1Division of Pharmacy Practice and Administrative Sciences, The James L Winkle College of Pharmacy, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, USA. Kelly.caudle@uc.edu



To evaluate the literature regarding the use of echinocandins to treat invasive fungal infections caused by Candida spp. in patients in the neonatal intensive care unit.


Literature retrieval was accessed through MEDLINE (Jan 2000-September 2011) using the search terms echinocandin, caspofungin, micafungin, anidulafungin, and neonate with limits for age group (ie, birth to 1 month). Reference citations from identified articles were also reviewed.


Relevant information on the pharmacokinetics, efficacy, and safety of echinocandins in neonates was selected. Prospective studies, retrospective studies, and case series in English identified from MEDLINE were evaluated.


Neonates, especially preterm neonates, have many risk factors that predispose them for invasive fungal infections caused by Candida spp. To date, the only antifungals recommended for use in neonates for treatment of candidiasis are amphotericin B (deoxycholate or a lipid formulation) and fluconazole; however, the toxicities associated with amphotericin B and resistance of certain Candida spp. to fluconazole limit their use in neonates. There is a need for a broad-spectrum antifungal agent with limited toxicity for use in this patient population. The echinocandins may represent such a class of antifungals. To date, micafungin is the most studied echinocandin in the neonatal population, followed by caspofungin; however, studies evaluating their efficacy and pharmacokinetic parameters in neonates are few.


Although studies suggest that the echinocandins may have a favorable safety profile, the lack of pharmacokinetic data and standardized study designs limit current recommendations of use of echinocandins as first-line agents in neonates in the treatment of fungal infections. However, if an echinocandin is to be used in this population, the data presented in this review suggest the use of micafungin over the other echinocandins, and higher doses of micafungin (10-15 mg/kg/day) should be used when central nervous system involvement is suspected.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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