Search on for more antifungal drugs: Drug regulator

India’s drug regulator is examining the use of alternative drugs for the treatment of mucormycosis, the fungal infection which has become the latest health worry, said people with knowledge of the matter. A large number of cases has led to a shortage of Amphotericin B, the medicine commonly used to treat the affliction.

With the unprecedented surge in mucormycosis infections causing a clamour for the anti-fungal drug, the drug regulator is reviewing the use of alternative drugs, notably those used at present to treat ‘Kala Azar’. “In a bid to bridge the gap between demand and supply, while this is the preferred drug, the drug regulator is looking at alternatives especially those drugs which are used to treat Kala Azar. The decision is likely to come soon,” added the same people.

The government is also considering releasing a clinical management protocol with guidelines regarding the use of Amphotericin B. “The experts are looking to recommend use of Amphotericin B only in severe cases and less severe cases be treated with alternative medicines. Guidelines regarding the use of Amphotericin B will soon be out, too,” added the people.

Amphotericin B, an antifungal drug, is used to treat mucormycosis which can cause blindness, organ dysfunction, and can be fatal if not treated in time. Certain parts of India are seeing a large number of cases of black fungus. Some experts blame it on the overuse of steroids during Covid. Those with diabetes are believed to be particularly susceptible to the disease.


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