UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Pharmacology & Therapeutics

Title: Initiating Treatment for Cryptococcal Meningitis in the ED (submitted by Ryan Spangler, MD)

Keywords: cryptococcal, meningitis, amphotericin, flucytosine (PubMed Search)

Posted: 9/25/2013 by Bryan Hayes, PharmD (Emailed: 10/5/2013) (Updated: 10/5/2013)
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Treatment of patients with HIV/AIDS can frequently mean consideration for, and need to treat cryptoccocal meningitis.

Since 1997, studies have demonstrated that high-dose Amphotericin B combined with flucytosine has improved outcomes compared to low dose treatment or monotherapy.

A recent 2013 study reiterated this approach, showing significant decrease in deaths at 70 days post-treatment and increased rates of yeast clearance with combination therapy of Amphotericin B plus flucytosine. 


Antifungal treatment of cryptococcal meningitis should start with Amphotericin B at 0.7-1 mg/kg IV daily plus concurrent flucytosine 25 mg/kg orally q6 hours. Fluconazole can be substituted in place of flucytosine if it is not available or not tolerated.


Day JN, et al.  Combination Antifungal Therapy for Cryptococcal Meningitis. N Engl J Med 2013;386:1291-1302. [PMID 23550668]
Van der Horst CM, et al. Treatment of cryptococcal meningitis associated with the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Mycoses Study Group and AIDS Clinical Trials Group. N Engl J Med 1997;337(1):15-21. [PMID 9203426]
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