Fungus is No Fun for Lupus Patients

Lupus patients with invasive fungal infection have higher risk of complications and death

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Chris Galloway, M.D.

(RxWiki News) On their own, fungal infections can be dangerous, even deadly. But researchers are still unclear about the effects of fungal infections in patients with lupus.

Invasive fungal infections are rare in patients with rheumatic diseases like lupus.

However, lupus patients with invasive fungal infections may have a higher risk of complications and death.

"Seek treatment if you have a fungal infection with lupus."

According to Dr. Marco Ulises Martínez-Martínez, of the Universidad Autónoma de San Luis Potosí, and colleagues, invasive fungal infections are "catastrophic diseases" associated with a high risk of death.

These researchers recently set out to study invasive fungal infections in patients with lupus, or systemic lupus erythematosus - an autoimmune disease that can affect many parts of the body.

Through their study of 60 people with lupus, Dr. Martínez-Martínez and colleagues found that lupus patients with fungal infections were four times more likely to die than those without infection.

They also found that invasive fungal infection was associated with high levels of C-reactive protein - a sign of inflammation caused by lupus.

Invasive fungal infection was associated with high disease activity, use of assisted breathing devices, antibiotic treatment, dialysis, high-dose steroid treatment, and treatment with mycophenolate mofetil (an immunosuppressant drug).

The authors conclude that invasive fungal infections should be diagnosed and treated as early as possible.

The study is published in The Journal of Rheumatology.

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Review Date: 
June 27, 2012
Last Updated:
December 4, 2012