Eraxis, known generically as anidulafungin was shown to be non-inferior to fluconazole in the treatment of invasive candidiasis, a potentially fatal blood infection seen in people whose immune systems have been hobbled. This is according to a research by Dr. Annette Reboli of Cooper University Hospital in Camden, New Jersey, and colleagues who published their findings in the New England Journal of Medicine.
But many other researchers believe that according to a new study the older, cheaper medication to treat potentially deadly fungal infections may work just as well as a newer drug in most cases.
Anidulafungin, belonging to a new class called echinocandins being expensive people would go for the fluconazole. And it was seen that it was the most prescribed.
Fungal infections may be a non-issue for most healthy people but they can be life-threatening for people who are already ill and for babies who are born pre-term and tiny.
The first compound used to treat candidiasis (yeast infection) was amphotericin B, which was effective but was limited by side effects.
Over the years, less toxic alternatives were developed such as fluconazole and a newer class of drugs known as echinocandins, one of which is anidulafungin.
In the study conducted by Dr. Reboli, Eraxis, known generically as anidulafungin, cleared the fungal infections in nearly 76 percent of 127 volunteers, compared with 60 percent of the 118 patients given fluconazole. Side effects were the same in both the groups. The study was conducted to show that to show that Eraxis was not inferior to the generic treatment.
"I think we will see more use of echinocandins up front, especially in critically ill patients, and fluconazole or another one in that class when the patient has responded and turned a corner," said Dr.Reboli.
The results "are disappointing to those who sought a clear winner" between the two drugs, said Dr. Jack Sobel and Dr. Sanjay Revankar of Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit.
"There is absolutely no justification for abandoning fluconazole, given its safety, overall efficacy, and low cost. The price of echinocandins has dropped substantially but remains several fold higher than that of generic fluconazole," they wrote in a commentary, also published in the Journal.
A second study, conducted in Italy, found that giving fluconazole prophylactically to babies born preterm and weighing less than about 3 pounds at birth reduced the incidence of colonization and invasive Candida infection