Caspofungin is a lipopeptide antifungal medication. It is from a new class of antifungals
called the echinocandins. It is used to treat yeast lead infections in the blood, stomach, lungs,
and oesophagus and some other fungal infections that could not be cured by other medication.
It is also the preferred medicine to treat fungal infections in people, whose bodies have a
weaker ability to fight the fungus. It has been effective in the treatment of fungal infections
caused by Aspergillus and Candida species. Caspofungin is an echinocandin, a new class of
antifungal agents with a broad spectrum of activity against all Candida species. It has also been
found that amongst 36% those patients who did not respond to other therapies have
responded well to Caspofungin therapy, and it was acceptable to 70% of patients whose
bodies did not accept or respond to first-line therapies.
Caspofungin is traded globally under the brand name Cancidas amongst others.
James Balkovec, Regina Black and Frances A. Bouffard from Merck & Co., Inc. discovered
Caspofungin. Caspofungin acetate in the injection form was originally approved by both
USFDA, and the EMEA, in Europe, in 2001. Caspofungin was the first inhibitor of fungal
(1→3)-β-D-glucan synthesis to be approved by the USFDA.
Forms and Dosage
Caspofungin is sold as power for injection in 50mg and 70mg per vial. In treatment of
Candida Infections, the patient is started off on a dose of 70mg IV infused over an hour.
While in the treatment of Esophageal Candidiasis, the Indicated dosage for treatment is 50
mg IV infused over one hour, the medicine is continued for 7-14 days even after the symptom
have resolved themselves. In the treatment of Invasive Aspergillosis too the dosage remains
the same at 70mg per hour infusion through an IV.
How much does Caspofungin cost?
a single vial for Caspofungin costs $42.4 USD in the USA, whereas it costs 435 pounds in the
UK as per the NHS guideline. In India, the same treatment costs USD50 – USD 200
depending on the brand bought
How does Caspofungin work?
Caspofungin works by stopping the growth of the fungi causing the infection. An integral
component of the cell wall of fungal species is β(1,3)-D-Glucan. The chains of β(1,3)-D-
glucan exist in a solid three-dimensional matrix giving the fungal cell its strength and shape.
Caspofungin works by inhibiting the enzyme (1→3)-β-D-glucan synthase and thereby
disturbing the integrity of the fungal cell wall eventually leading the death of fungal cells.
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