Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, Vol.68, No.2, 151-162, 2005
Invasive fungal infections are a major cause of morbidity and mortality in immunodeficient individuals (such as AIDS patients) and in transplant recipients or tumor patients undergoing immunosuppressive chemotherapy. Amphotericin B is one of the oldest, yet most efficient antimycotic agents. However, its usefulness is limited due to dose-dependent side-effects, notably nephrotoxicity. In order to improve its safety margin, new pharmaceutical formulations of amphotericin B have been designed especially to reduce its detrimental effects on the kidneys. Since the 1980s, a wide variety of new amphotericin B formulations have been brought forward for clinical testing, many of which were approved and reached market value in the 1990s. This review describes and discusses the molecular genetics, pharmacological, toxicological, and clinical aspects of amphotericin B itself and many of its innovative formulations.