Friday, May 25, 2007

Anti-fungal Drugs

Anti-fungal Drugs

We are continually exposed to fungi — in the air we breathe, the food we eat and the water we drink. Fortunately, most of them cannot live in the body and few are harmful. But some can grow in the mouth, skin, hair or nails, causing irritating or unsightly changes, and a few can cause serious and possibly fatal disease. The most common fungal infections are caused by the tinea group. These include tinea pedis (athlete's foot), tinea corporis (ringworm), tinea cruris (groin ringworm) and tinea capitis (scalp ringworm). Caused by a variety of organisms, they are spread by direct or indirect contact with infected humans or animals. Infection is encouraged by warm, moist conditions.

Problems may also result from the proliferation of a fungus that is normally present in the body; the most common example is excessive growth of Candida, a yeast that causes thrush infection of the mouth, vagina and bowel. It can also infect other organs if it spreads through the body via the blood stream. Overgrowth of Candida may occur in people taking antibiotics or oral contraceptives, pregnant women, or those with diabetes or immune system disorders such as AIDS.

Superficial fungal infections—those that attack only the outer layer of the skin and mucous membranes— are relatively common and, although irritating, do not usually present a threat to general health. Internal fungal infections — for example, of the lungs, heart or other organs— are rare but may be serious and prolonged.

Because antibiotics and other anti-bacterial drugs have no effect on fungi and yeasts, it is necessary to use a different type of drug. Drugs for fungal infections are either applied topically to treat minor infections of the skin, nails, and mucous membranes or they are given by mouth or injection to eliminate serious fungal infections of the internal organs and nails.

Choice of Anti-fungal Drug

The particular drug chosen in each case depends on the precise nature and site of the infection. The usual route of administration for each drug is also indicated.

How They Work

Most anti-fungals alter the permeablility of the fungal cell's walls. Chemicals needed for cell life leak out and the fungal cell dies.

Common Drugs

Amorolfine, Amphotericin, Benzoyl peroxide, Cotrimazole, Econazole, Fenticonazole, Fluconazole, Griseofulvin, Isoconazole, Itraconazole, lucytosine, Ketoconazole, Miconazole, Nystatin, Sulconazole, Terbinafine, Tioconazole.



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