Two studies have found that the Schering-Plough fungus-fighter drug - Noxafil, which gained FDA approval recently is better than older drugs in protecting patients with crippled immune systems, according to two studies financed by the company. The results of their study were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Apart from preventing fungal infections, Noxafil, known generically as posaconazole, also seems to have fewer side effects. Invasive fungal infections are the main cause of death among people undergoing chemotherapy for blood cancers, bone marrow transplants or organ transplants and who have low white blood cell counts as a result.
The team led by Oliver Cornely of the University of Cologne in Germany tested around 602 cancer patients, who have less ability to fight infection because of their chemotherapy treatments and it was found that the risk of fungal infection was just 2% in the group taking Noxafil, comparing to 8% among the volunteers receiving either of the two drugs fluconazole or itraconazole.
In the other test, Andrew Ullmann of the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany and his colleagues found that Noxafil was just as effective at preventing all fungal infections as fluconazole.
In a commentary in the Journal, Ben De Pauw and Peter Donnelly of the University Medical Center St. Radboud in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, said Noxafil "appears to be the drug of choice" for preventing one type of fungal infection, known as Aspergillosis. But he said other drugs might be better for actually treating that infection when it appears.