Comparative efficacies of terbinafine and fluconazole in treatment of experimental coccidioidal meningitis in a rabbit model

K. N. Sorensen, R. A. Sobel, K. V. Clemons, L. Calderon, K. J. Howell, P. R. Irani, Demosthenes Pappagianis, P. L. Williams, D. A. Stevens

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24 Scopus citations


A rabbit model of coccidioidal meningitis was used to compare the therapeutic efficacies of terbinafine (TBF) and fluconazole (FCZ). Hydrocortisone acetate-treated New Zealand White male rabbits were infected intracisternally with either 2.2 x 104 or 6.4 x 104 Coccidioides immitis arthroconidia. Oral treatment with polyethylene glycol 200 (PEG) twice daily (n = 8), TBF twice daily (n = 9; 200 mg/kg of body weight/day), or FCZ once daily (n = 8; 80 mg/kg/day) began on day 5 and continued for 21 days. Mean survival times were 20, 24, and 32 days for rabbits treated with PEG, TBF, and FCZ, respectively. All of the FCZ-treated animals (100%; P = 0.003), 56% of the TBF-treated animals (P = 0.4), and 25% of the PEG-treated animals survived the length of the study. Both FCZ and TBF were effective at reducing the incidence of paresis. Only FCZ was effective at reducing most neurological and systemic signs. FCZ treatments resulted in lower cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) protein concentrations and leukocyte counts and faster clearing of CSF fungal cultures compared with those for PEG-treated controls, but TBF treatments had no significant effect on these parameters. Neither drug affected CSF glucose levels. Mean serum TBF levels by bioassay were within the range of 3.5 to 6.2 μg/ml at 1, 2, and 4 h postdosing and 0.35 to 7.0 μg/ml at 14 h postdosing. No TBF was detected in CSF. Mean FCZ levels (24 to 25.5 h postdosing) by bioassay were 16.4 to 19.2 and 13.5 to 19.2 μg/ml in serum and CSF, respectively. The reduction in the numbers of CFU in the spinal cord and brain was over 100-fold (P = 0.0005) in FCZ-treated animals and 2-fold (P ≤ 0.2) in TBF-treated animals compared with those in PEG-treated animals. Histopathologic severity (semiquantitative scoring system) was significantly attenuated by FCZ treatment (P = 0.05) and was slightly attenuated by TBF treatment compared with that for the controls. In conclusion, TBF appeared to have a slight effect on survival, histology, and reduction of the numbers of CFU in tissue; however, these effects were not significant. FCZ was effective at controlling coccidioidal meningitis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3087-3091
Number of pages5
JournalAntimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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