Antifungal Properties of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors Against Aspergillus Species in Vitro

C. Lass-Flörla,*, M. P. Diericha, D. Fuchsb, E. Semenitzc, I. Jeneweina and M. Ledochowskid

a Departments of Hygiene and Social Medicine and b Medical Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck; Departments of c Hospital Pharmacy and d Clinical Nutrition, Innsbruck University Hospital, Innsbruck, Austria

This study investigated the fungicidal activity of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) against clinical isolates of Aspergillus fumigatus (n = 11), Aspergillus flavus (n = 9), Aspergillus terreus (n = 10) and Candida parapsilosis (ATCC 22019). The common drugs fluoxetine, seroxate, sertraline, paroxetine and reboxetine were applied in a broth microdilution test. In addition, we examined whether a post-antibiotic effect occurs following short exposure to the drugs. The various SSRIs showed time- and dose-dependent effects and were fungicidal towards the organisms tested.

Sertraline and fluoxetine were the most active drugs, yet there were differences in the susceptibility of the various isolates tested. A lag of regrowth was dependent on the various SSRIs tested and their concentration. Treatment for 4 h at concentrations of sertraline below and equipotent to the minimal fungicidal concentration resulted in a lag of regrowth of 8–24 h for isolates of A. fumigatus and A. flavus. In conclusion, our in vitro studies clearly demonstrate antifungal effects of SSRIs. Animal studies are needed to evaluate the potential role of these psychotropic drugs in the management of fungal infections.

* Corresponding author. Tel: +43-512-507-3425; Fax: +43-512-507-2870; E-mail: Cornelia.Lass-Floerl@uibk.ac.at

Source: Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (2001) 48, 775-779.

© 2001 The British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy

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