The number of fungal diseases, or mycosis, has increased greatly in the recent years. It is connected to many factors. One of them is a broad usage of antibiotics, that have a wide spectrum of action. Sometimes they depress human immune system, which provides good conditions for fungi development.
Antifungal agents (antimycotics) are medicines that have a fungicidal or fungistatic effects, and are used to treat and prevent fungal infections. They represent an extensive class of various chemical compounds, both of natural and synthetic origin. Depending on the chemical structure and composition, they are divided into several groups. The drugs differ in their treating features, activity spectrum, pharmacokinetics and clinical use.
According to their composition, anti fungal drugs are divided into several groups. Some of them are called polyenes.
Polyenes are natural antimycotics, that include nystatin, levorin and natamycin, applied topically or used orally. Depending on the composition, polyenes can have both a fungistatic and fungicidal effects. Their active ingredient binds to the fungal membrane, leading to violation of its integrity, loss of cytoplasm and cell breakdown. Polyenes are widely used for a systematic treatment for Candida and Aspergillus infections, B.dermatitidis, H.capsulatum, C.immitis, P. brasiliensis and some other fungi. The treatment plan and dosage should be strictly adhered to, otherwise the disease will no be cured.
Azoles are the biggest group of synthetic antimycotics, that are used in modern medicine. Some of them are prescribed for systemic treatment (ketoconazole, fluconazole, itraconazole), others are used topically (bifonazole, isoconazole, clotrimazole). Azoles have a strong fungistatic effect. They interfere with the fungal membrane, slow down fungal activity, and prevent the infection. Azoles have a wide range of antifungal activity. Most fungi (C. albicans, C.parapsilosis, C.tropicalis, C.lusitaniae, etc.) that cause candidiasis are sensitive to itraconazole. Azoles may cause a number of side effects in GT track (stomachache, loss of appetite, nausea), nervous system (headache, dizziness, vision disturbances, tremor, etc), and others. Azoles are not recommended for pregnant or baby-feeding women, people who suffer form liver disorders or allergic to the drug components.