Caspofungin

Caspofungin is an antifungal medication that is used to help the body fight serious fungal infections.

Overview

Caspofungin is administered intravenously and is most commonly used against Candida and Aspergillosis. It is often sold in the United States as Cancidas. The precise dosage and schedule on which caspofungin is administered depends on your condition, your health, and your doctor's orders.

Conditions Treated:

  • Candida
  • Aspergillosis

Type of Medicine:

  • Antifungal
  • Intravenous solution

Side Effects

Mild Side Effects

While taking caspofungin, you may experience some mild unwanted side effects in addition to the therapeutic effects caspofungin is taken for. These side effects are a result of your body adjusting to the medication, and should subside over the course of your treatment. If these side effects do not subside, become worse, or become bothersome to you, check with your doctor or other healthcare professional for information about treatments that may help reduce the severity of these symptoms.

While taking caspofungin, you may experience some gastrointestinal symptoms and side effects such as a sour or acid stomach, a full or bloated feeling, heartburn, indigestion, excessive belching, a feeling of pressure in the stomach, pain or discomfort in the stomach, or a swelling of the stomach area or abdominal area. You may experience dermatological symptoms or side effects such as unusually warm skin, flushing skin or unusually red skin, skin that is dry or irritated, flaking or falling off of the skin, blistering or peeling of the skin, red skin lesions with a purple center or purple dots on the skin, hives or bumps on the skin, or red and irritated eyes. You may experience some back pain, joint or muscle pain, or some muscle stiffness or difficulty in moving. You may experience a feeling of lack or loss of strength or an unusual drowsiness. You may experience sleeplessness, trouble sleeping, or fear. If you experience any of these side effects while taking caspofungin and these side effects become bothersome, check with your doctor.

Serious Side Effects

In addition to its therapeutic side effects, caspofungin can cause some effects in the body that can cause serious health problems or that may be symptoms of serious health problems triggered by the usage of caspofungin. If these symptoms occur while you are taking caspofungin, check with your doctor immediately. You may need medical assistance or to discontinue caspofungin if this is the case.

While taking caspofungin, you may experience gastrointestinal symptoms such as a loss of appetite, nausea or nausea with vomiting, blood in your vomit, diarrhea or constipation, increased hunger or a loss of appetite, indigestion, or tenderness or pain in the stomach or the abdomen. You may experience problems with urination such as decreased frequency of urine or decreased quantity of urine, dry mouth or increased thirst, blood in the urine or the stool, stools that are black or tarry, cloudy or dark urine, a frequent urge to urinate, bladder pain, light-colored stools, pains in the stomach, side, or abdomen that may radiate to the back, continuing stomach pain, lower back or side pain, pain or fullness in the right upper abdominal area, unexplained weight loss, rapid weight gain, a fruit-like odor on the breath, or an unpleasant breath odor.

You may experience respiratory symptoms such as chest pain or discomfort, a cough, difficulty in swallowing, difficulty or trouble in breathing, shortness of breath, a sore throat, sneezing, tightness in the chest, troubled breathing while exerting yourself, wheezing, irregular breathing, rapid and shallow breathing, or troubled breathing while you are at rest. You may also experience dizziness or faintness when suddenly getting up from a sitting or prone position, unusual tiredness or weakness, drowsiness, a general feeling of tiredness or weakness, muscle weakness, convulsions or seizures, confusion, mood changes, depression, nervousness, or loss of consciousness.

You may experience yellow eyes or skin, pale skin, blue lips, fingernails, or skin, or other changes in skin color. You may experience bloating or swelling of the extremities such as the face, arms, hands, lower legs, or feet, trembling or shaking of the hands or feet, muscle pain or cramps, headaches, numbness or tingling in the hands, feet, or lips, pain or redness at the injection site, swelling or tenderness that may come with pain in the foot or legs, muscle spasms, or twitching seizures. You may experience sores, ulcers, or white spots on the tongue or lips or inside the mouth, bleeding gums, or a bloody nose.

You may experience flushed or dry skin, itching, a rash, or pinpoint red spots on the skin. You may experience blurred vision, an irregular heartbeat, slow or fast heartbeat, pounding in the ears, a lack of blood pressure or a lack of pulse, or heart stoppage. You may experience blurred vision, unusual bleeding or bruising, a fever without chills, incoherent speech, or contract a fever.

If you experience any of these side effects while taking caspofungin, talk to your doctor immediately to see if you need medical assistance or to discontinue your regimen of caspofungin.

Dosage

Caspofungin is injected intravenously, and is usually administered in a doctor's office or other clinical setting by a health care professional. Caspofungin must be injected slowly to be properly effective. One administration of caspofungin usually takes approximately one hour before the needle can be removed.

Caspofungin should not be mixed with solutions that contain dextrose, or administered at the same time as other medications. Precise dosage of caspofungin is to be determined by the patient's condition and needs, as well as the doctor's individual directions.

Interactions

Any drug interaction can increase the risk of side effects of a drug, or can change how the drugs work in your body. Keep a list of all drugs, medications, and supplements you are currently taking, whether they have been prescribed to you by a physician or are taken over the counter. Your doctor or pharmacist can identify potential drug interactions and advise you if it is safe to take other drugs or supplements while taking caspofungin.

Taking cyclosporine while taking caspofungin may increase the concentration of caspofungin in the body, which may not have any additional therapeutic effects and can lead to an additional risk of side effects. Patients taking caspofungin are advised not to receive cyclosporine. Alternatives to cyclosporine should be sought while on a caspofungin regimen if cyclosporine is needed.

Taking tacrolimus while taking cyclosporin may decrease the levels of tacolimus in your blood, which can increase the risk of a rejected organ or failed organ transplant. Patients who may take tacrolimus at the same time as caspofungin should let their doctor know, as the dosage of either medication may need to be adjusted.

Some medications may increase how quickly your liver processes caspofungin, which can decrease the amount of caspofungin available in the blood and decrease the effectiveness of your caspofungin against your fungal infection. These medications include nevirapine or efavirenz, phenytoin or fosphenytoin, rifampin, dexamethasone, and carbamazepine. If you are taking any of these medications, let your doctor know. You may need a dosage adjustment for your caspofungin to work properly.

Warnings

Blood Tests

Patients taking caspofungin will need regular blood tests. Regular blood tests will ensure that the progress of this medication is regular and that the medication has the desired effects. Blood tests may also be needed to test for some unwanted effects, as some of the side effects and health problems that caspofungin can trigger do not have obvious symptoms that can be detected without a blood test.

Liver Function

Caspofungin can cause some liver malfunction. Symptoms of liver malfunction include pain in your upper stomach, unusually pale stools, dark-colored urine, yellowing of the whites of the eyes or of the skin, nausea or nausea with vomiting, and loss of appetite. If you experience these symptoms while on a caspofungin regimen, check with your doctor right away to determine any needed medical assistance or to determine if caspofungin should still be administered.

Patients who develop signs of liver problems or have signs of abnormal liver function or elevated liver enzymes in blood tests while taking caspofungin should be monitored closely during the regimen of caspofungin therapy. Patients who already experience or have experienced moderate hepatic impairment may need lower doses of caspofungin, and should be monitored closely during treatment to detect any further liver deterioration during caspofungin treatment.

Allergic Reactions

Caspofungin can trigger a severe allergic reaction or anaphylactic reaction in some patients. Signs of an allergic reaction to caspofungin include a skin rash, unusual skin itching, facial swelling or swelling around the lips, mouth, and tongue or other extremities such as the hands and feet, difficulty in breathing, or spasms of the bronchial tube. If you experience any of these symptoms while on a course of caspofungin, get medical assistance for an anaphylactic reaction immediately. Patients who experience an allergic or anaphylactic reaction to caspofungin should discontinue caspofungin immediately.

Pregnancy Warnings

Caspofungin has been shown in animal studies to produce negative effects in embryos, including a build-up of caspofungin in the fetus that can produce toxicity or toxic effects, including problems with the bone structure or calcium structures in the fetus and a potential loss of the fetus. Caspofungin should be used by pregnant patients only if the potential benefit to the patient outweighs the potential risk to the fetus. Patients who become pregnant while using caspofungin should check with their doctor for further instructions and to see if it is safe to continue the use of caspofungin. Caspofungin may be excreted in human breastmilk. Patients who are taking caspofungin while nursing a child should use caution. If you are nursing, check with your doctor to see if caspofungin is safe for you and your child, and to see what precautions can be taken while nursing.

Storage

Vials of caspofungin should be stored at 2-8°C or 36-46°F. Reconstituted caspofungin may be refrigerated or stored at room temperature. Caspofungin is safe to use within 24 hours if stored at room temperature, and within 48 hours if refrigerated.

Summary

Caspofungin is used to treat fungal infections such as Candida and Aspergillosis. It is administered intravenously in a doctor's office or another clinical setting. A dosage of caspofungin can take up to an hour to administer through an intravenous tube.

Caspofungin can have some mild side effects that are a result of your body adjusting to the medication. You may experience stomach problems such as discomfort, indigestion or heartburn, a bloated feeling, or belching. You may experience some skin problems such as flaking or blistering skin, hives or bumps, and red or flushing skin. You may also experience pain in your back, joints, or muscles, muscle stiffness or difficulty moving, weakness, drowsiness, or trouble sleeping. These symptoms are usually mild, and your doctor can help you find ways to reduce them.

Caspofungin can have more serious side effects that can lead to health problems. Check with your doctor immediately for medical help if you have signs of liver problems such as upper stomach pain, loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting, dark-colored urine, pain or difficulty urinating, jaundice, or blood in your urine or stool. Some patients may also experience muscle spasms, numb or tingling extremities, serious bloating or swelling of the extremities, abnormalities in the pulse, or blurred vision. Some patients may have an allergic reaction to caspofungin, including problems breathing, wheezing, or rashes on the skin.

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Last Reviewed:
December 24, 2017
Last Updated:
December 22, 2017
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