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J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2019 Oct;33(10):1863-1873. doi: 10.1111/jdv.15782. Epub 2019 Jul 30.

Cutaneous candidiasis - an evidence-based review of topical and systemic treatments to inform clinical practice.

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Department of Dermato-Venereology, Zealand University Hospital, Roskilde Hospital, Roskilde, Denmark.
Health Sciences Faculty, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Department of Dermatology, King's College London, London, UK.


Cutaneous candidiasis is a common skin disease, and several treatments have been investigated within the last fifty years. Yet, systematic reviews are lacking, and evidence-based topical and systemic treatment strategies remain unclear. Thus, the aim of this review was to summarize efficacy and adverse effects of topical and oral therapies for cutaneous candidiasis in all age groups. Two individual researchers searched PubMed and EMBASE for 'cutaneous candidiasis' and 'cutaneous candidiasis treatment', 'intertrigo', 'diaper dermatitis' and 'cheilitis'. Searches were limited to 'English language', 'clinical trials' and 'human subjects', and prospective clinical trials published in abstracts or articles were included. In total, 149 studies were identified, of which 44 were eligible, comprising 41 studies of 19 topical therapies and four studies of three systemic therapies for cutaneous candidiasis. Topical therapies were investigated in infants, children, adolescents, adults and elderly, while studies of systemic therapies were limited to adolescents and adults. Clotrimazole, nystatin and miconazole were the most studied topical drugs and demonstrated similar efficacy with complete cure rates of 73%-100%. Single-drug therapy was as effective as combinations of antifungal, antibacterial and topical corticosteroid. Four studies investigated systemic therapy, and oral fluconazole demonstrated similar efficacy to oral ketoconazole and topical clotrimazole. Limitations to this review were mainly that heterogeneity of studies hindered meta-analyses. In conclusions, clotrimazole, nystatin and miconazole were the most studied topical drugs and demonstrated equal good efficacy and mild adverse effects similar to combinations of antifungal, antibacterial and topical corticosteroids. Oral fluconazole was as effective as topical clotrimazole and is the only commercially available evidence-based option for systemic treatment of cutaneous candidiasis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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