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Antifungal Agents.


In: Baron S, editor.


Medical Microbiology. 4th edition. Galveston (TX): University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston; 1996. Chapter 76.


The development of antifungal agents has lagged behind that of antibacterial agents. This is a predictable consequence of the cellular structure of the organisms involved. Bacteria are prokaryotic and hence offer numerous structural and metabolic targets that differ from those of the human host. Fungi, in contrast, are eukaryotes, and consequently most agents toxic to fungi are also toxic to the host. Furthermore, because fungi generally grow slowly and often in multicellular forms, they are more difficult to quantify than bacteria. This difficulty complicates experiments designed to evaluate the in vitro or in vivo properties of a potential antifungal agent. Despite these limitations, numerous advances have been made in developing new antifungal agents and in understanding the existing ones. This chapter summarizes the more common antifungal agents. Three groups of drugs are emphasized: the polyenes, the azoles, and one antimetabolite.Table 76-1 summarizes the most important antifungal agents and their most common uses.

Copyright © 1996, The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

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