Research Article

Disseminated candidiasis: evidence of a distinctive syndrome in heroin abusers.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1983; 287 doi: (Published 24 September 1983) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1983;287:861
  1. P J Collignon,
  2. T C Sorrell


    Seven young men developed similar manifestations of disseminated candidiasis after a single episode of intravenous heroin abuse. Sequential development of lesions of the eye, skin, and bone or costal cartilage was noted within 10 days after injection. Skin lesions were confined to the scalp and other hair bearing areas. Candida albicans was cultured readily from affected skin and costal cartilage. Histological examination of scalp biopsy specimens showed infiltration of hair follicles with chronic inflammatory cells and C albicans. Pseudohyphas of C albicans were also identified in and around hair shafts. The skin, skeletal, and small eye lesions resolved on systemic treatment with 1 g amphotericin B plus flucytosine. Pars plana vitrectomy plus local instillation of amphotericin B cured progressive chorioretinitis. These features may represent a distinctive syndrome of disseminated candidiasis in heroin abusers. Systemic antifungal treatment is curative in most cases.