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The Food and Drug Administration on Monday approved an alternative treatment for two serious AIDS-related fungal infections.

Fluconazole was cleared for use in cryptococcal meningitis, an inflammation of the brain and nervous system, and candidiasis, a fungal infection that causes sores in the mouth and throat.

An estimated 80 to 90 percent of patients with advanced AIDS symptoms are afflicted by candidiasis, the FDA said.

"Fluconazole offers an effective alternative treatment for people with AIDS, cancer and other diseases whose weakened immune systems make them susceptible to cryptococcal meningitis or candidiasis," said Health and Human Services Secretary Louis W. Sullivan.

The drug will be marketed by its maker, Pfizer Inc. of New York, under the name Diflucan.

Though other treatments already are available for the AIDS-related conditions, their use is limited by side effects and other factors, the FDA said.

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