Refractory Oral Candidiasis

Overview of Refractory Oral Candidiasis

Refractory oral candidiasis is a type of oral thrush (candidiasis) infection of the mouth that is resistant to treatment with antifungal medications. This type of candidiasis is most often seen in immunocompromised patients, such as those with HIV/AIDS, diabetes, steroid-related infections, and those taking immunosuppressive medications.

Oral thrush is a fungal infection that generally occurs in the mouth, which causes white patches on the tongue and other areas in the mouth, as well as a painful, burning sensation. The thrush infection can be treated with antifungal medications, but, when the infection is refractory or nonresponsive, additional treatment may be necessary.

Symptoms of Refractory Oral Candidiasis

The symptoms of refractory oral candidiasis are similar to those of regular oral thrush. These include:

  • White or whitish-gray patches on the tongue and other areas in the mouth.
  • Redness.
  • Painful or burning sensation in the mouth.
  • Difficulty eating or drinking, as the infection can irritate the mouth and throat.
  • Bad breath.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Refractory Oral Candidiasis

A doctor may diagnose refractory oral candidiasis with a physical exam and possibly a biopsy. Treatment may involve antifungal medications, such as fluconazole, topical medications, or a combination of the two. For those who do not respond to medications, other treatments, such as hyperbaric oxygen therapy, may be necessary. Additionally, changes in lifestyle, such as quitting smoking and avoiding alcohol and foods high in sugar, may be recommended to reduce risk of recurrence.