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Long-Term Outcomes of Women With Recurrent Vulvovaginal Candidiasis After a Course of Maintenance Antifungal Therapy

Crouss, Tess, MD1; Sobel, Jack D., MD2; Smith, Katharine, PhD1; Nyirjesy, Paul, MD1

Journal of Lower Genital Tract Disease: October 2018 - Volume 22 - Issue 4 - p 382–386
doi: 10.1097/LGT.0000000000000413
Original Research Articles: Vagina and Vulva

Objectives Data about long-term clinical outcome after a course of maintenance fluconazole in those with recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis (RVVC) is lacking. We aimed to determine the rate of recurrence at a minimum of 6 months after completion of maintenance therapy.

Methods A retrospective analysis of women with Candida albicans RVVC from January 2008 to January 2017 was performed using chart review to obtain information about recurrence after maintenance therapy. Patients were considered resolved if they had no further episodes of candidiasis, sporadic with less than 3 episodes yearly and ongoing with greater than 3 episodes yearly.

Results Approximately 1,672 patients with C. albicans vaginal isolates were identified. Of these, 201 met the criteria for RVVC. The mean age was 40.4 years; 151 (77.4%) were white, 133 (66.2%) had comorbid vulvar conditions, and 76 (37.8%) had a risk factor for vulvovaginal candidiasis. One hundred twenty complete charts were further analyzed. The mean length of follow-up after discontinuing maintenance therapy was 39.9 months. After the initial course, 23 (19.2%), 21 (17.5%), and 76 (63.3%) were resolved, sporadic and ongoing, respectively. Risk factors, comorbid vulvar conditions, obesity, menopause status, and length of therapy were not associated with relapse. Age 40 or older was associated with relapse (p = .018). Of the 201 total patients with RVVC, 22 (10.9%) of patients self-reported at least 1 adverse event. The most common was gastrointestinal symptoms (8 [4%]).

Conclusions Although RVVC can be controlled, relapse is common after an initial course of maintenance fluconazole. Ongoing maintenance remains the most effective treatment option.

Although recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis can be controlled with maintenance fluconazole, relapse is common after an initial course of maintenance therapy.

1Drexel University College of Medicine and Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Philadelphia, PA; and

2Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI

Correspondence to: Tess Crouss, MD, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Drexel University College of Medicine, 245 N. 15th St. MS 495, Philadelphia, PA. E-mail:

The authors have declared they have no conflicts of interest.

Approved by Drexel University’s institutional review board (IRB ID: 1603004391).

There are no sources of funding.

This work was presented at the Infectious Disease Society for Obstetrics and Gynecology Annual Meeting, Park City, UT, 8/11/2017.

Copyright © 2018 by the American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology