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Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2012 Dec;64(12):1903-9. doi: 10.1002/acr.21784.

Management of coccidioidomycosis in patients receiving biologic response modifiers or disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs.

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University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1685, USA.



Coccidioidomycosis (valley fever) is an endemic fungal infection of the American Southwest, an area with a large population of patients with rheumatic diseases. There are currently no guidelines for management of patients who develop coccidioidomycosis while under treatment with biologic response modifiers (BRMs) or disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). We conducted a retrospective study of how both concurrent diseases were managed and the patient outcomes at 2 centers in Tucson, Arizona.


A retrospective chart review identified patients who developed coccidioidomycosis during treatment with DMARDs or BRMs. Patients were seen at least once in a university-affiliated or Veterans Affairs outpatient rheumatology clinic in Tucson, Arizona, between 2007 and 2009.


Forty-four patients were identified. Rheumatologic treatment included a BRM alone (n = 11), a DMARD alone (n = 8), or combination therapy (n = 25). Manifestations of coccidioidomycosis included pulmonary infection (n = 29), disseminated disease (n = 9), and asymptomatic positive coccidioidal serologies (n = 6). After the diagnosis of coccidioidomycosis, 26 patients had BRMs and DMARDs stopped, 8 patients had BRMs stopped but DMARD therapy continued, and 10 patients had no change in their immunosuppressive therapy. Forty-one patients had antifungal therapy initiated for 1 month or longer. Followup data were available for 38 patients. BRM and/or DMARD therapy was continued or resumed in 33 patients, only 16 of whom continued concurrent antifungal therapy. None of the patients have had subsequent dissemination or complications of coccidioidomycosis.


Re-treating rheumatic disease patients with a BRM and/or a DMARD after coccidioidomycosis appears to be safe in some patients. We propose a management strategy based on coccidioidomycosis disease activity.

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