In this prospective, randomized study fluconazole and amphotericin B/5-flucytosine were compared in the treatment of systemic candidiasis. Seventy-two non-neutropenic intensive care patients with systemic Candida infections were enrolled. Thirty-six patients were randomly assigned to receive fluconazole (400 mg on the first day then 200 mg) and 36 were randomized to amphotericin B/5-flucytosine (1.0-1.5 mg/kg body weight every other day and 3 x 2.5 g flucytosine/day) for 14 days following the diagnosis. There was no statistically significant difference in clinical outcome in regard to the treatment of pneumonia and sepsis: 18/28 of the patients were treated successfully with fluconazole and 17/27 with amphotericin B/5-flucytosine. For the treatment of peritonitis, however, amphotericin B/5-flucytosine was more effective than fluconazole (55% vs. 25%). Furthermore, amphotericin B/5-flucytosine was found to be superior to fluconazole with regard to pathogen eradication (86% vs. 50%). Fluconazole was associated with less toxicity than amphotericin B/5-flucytosine.