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Chronic Mucocutaneous Candidiasis Treatment & Management

  • Author: Neil Sandhu, MD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
Updated: Jun 30, 2016

Medical Care

Management can be difficult, and relapse is common following discontinuation of therapy. Topical therapies are not usually effective in patients with CMC. Treatment of oral involvement in CMC can be aided by therapy with clotrimazole troches or oral nystatin solution. Treatment falls into 3 main categories: antifungal agents, immunologic therapies, and combination therapy.

Systemic antifungal therapy is the mainstay of CMC therapy. It may be used alone or in combination with an immunomodulatory agent. The drawbacks of systemic antifungal therapy include the risk of adverse effects or toxicity, a failure to correct the underlying immune deficiency, relapse following the cessation of therapy, and antifungal resistance to some antifungal agents.

Several immunologic therapies have been proposed in an effort to correct the underlying immune deficiency in persons with CMC. The most widely studied treatment is the use of transfer factor.[17] Transfer factor is a cell-free protein extracted from the T lymphocytes of Candida-immune donors. Although the precise mechanism is unknown, it has been shown to transfer delayed-type hypersensitivity reactions to patients previously anergic to candidal skin testing. Candida-specific cell immunity may be transferred by this approach. It is not effective in all cases. Long-term remissions have occurred when combined with antifungal medications.



Refer patients to an endocrinologist if screening laboratory test results suggest an associated endocrine abnormality.

If familial CMC is suspected, consultation with a geneticist should be obtained.

Patients with recurrent infections or pneumonia should be referred to an immunologist.


Long-Term Monitoring

Baseline studies and yearly screening for associated endocrinopathy should be performed. Long-term follow-up is necessary for identifying and addressing accompanying disorders.

Some authors suggest screening angio-MRI for all patients with diagnosed CMC to rule out aneurysm; but this is not a universal recommendation.[6]

If the disease flares, patients may need to be seen on an urgent basis, particularly after a course of antifungals has been discontinued.

Contributor Information and Disclosures

Neil Sandhu, MD Dermatologist (Medical/Cosmetics) and Mohs Surgeon, Gulf Coast Dermatology

Neil Sandhu, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology, American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, American Society for MOHS Surgery

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Richard P Vinson, MD Assistant Clinical Professor, Department of Dermatology, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Paul L Foster School of Medicine; Consulting Staff, Mountain View Dermatology, PA

Richard P Vinson, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology, Texas Medical Association, Association of Military Dermatologists, Texas Dermatological Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Jeffrey J Miller, MD Associate Professor of Dermatology, Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine; Staff Dermatologist, Pennsylvania State Milton S Hershey Medical Center

Jeffrey J Miller, MD is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, American Academy of Dermatology, Society for Investigative Dermatology, Association of Professors of Dermatology, North American Hair Research Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

Dirk M Elston, MD Professor and Chairman, Department of Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery, Medical University of South Carolina College of Medicine

Dirk M Elston, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Additional Contributors

Carrie L Kovarik, MD Assistant Professor of Dermatology, Dermatopathology, and Infectious Diseases, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

Carrie L Kovarik, MD is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


Michael G Bryan, MD Staff Dermatologist, Dermatology, Las Vegas Skin and Care Clinics

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Robin L Hornung, MD, MPH Assistant Professor, Division of Dermatology, Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine; Director, Department of Pediatric Dermatology, Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center, Seattle

Robin L Hornung, MD, MPH is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology, Society for Pediatric Dermatology, and Women's Dermatologic Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Lester F Libow, MD Dermatopathologist, South Texas Dermatopathology Laboratory

Lester F Libow, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology, American Society of Dermatopathology, and Texas Medical Assocation

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Jonathan M Olson, MD Fellow, Division of Dermatology, University of Washington Medical Center

Jonathan M Olson, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Medical Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

David T Robles, MD, PhD Dermatologist, Chaparral Medical Group

David T Robles, MD, PhD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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Thickened, fragmented, hyperkeratotic nails and erythematous periungual skin. Courtesy of Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
Crusted hyperkeratotic plaques on and around the nose. Courtesy of Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
Crusted hyperkeratotic plaques on eyebrow, forehead, and scalp. Courtesy of Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
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