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J Antimicrob Chemother. 2000 Jun;45(6):843-9.

A prospective, randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial of empirical teicoplanin in febrile neutropenia with persistent fever after imipenem monotherapy.

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  • 1Department of Haematology, Medical Microbiology and Hospital Pharmacy, University Hospital, Hanzeplein 1, 9713 GZ Groningen, The Netherlands.


Glycopeptide antibiotics are used extensively in the empirical treatment of febrile patients with neutropenia. To come to a more rational and restricted application of these expensive drugs and to reduce the risk of emergence of resistance, we carried out a prospective, double-blinded, placebo-controlled single-centre study to investigate whether the addition of teicoplanin improved the outcome of neutropenic patients who remained febrile after 72-96 h of imipenem monotherapy. Patients with known infections caused by imipenem-resistant microorganisms were excluded. From the 114 evaluable episodes (out of a total of 125) in 105 patients who met the eligibility criteria, 56 episodes were randomized to receive teicoplanin and 58 to placebo. At 72 h after the start of the assigned intervention, 52 (45.6%) of the patients were afebrile; at the end of the aplastic phase, 10 (8.8%) had succumbed. There was no difference between the two study arms. When febrile episodes were subdivided between microbiologically documented infections, clinically documented infections and fevers of unknown origin, again no significant differences were observed. With the exception of methicillin-resistant bacteria, Gram-positive infections seemed to respond well to imipenem monotherapy. It is concluded that the addition of teicoplanin on empirical grounds, i.e. for persistent fever only, is not necessary and that the use of glycopeptides should be restricted to well-defined clinical situations where methicillin-resistant bacteria are involved. Furthermore, it seems that many neutropenic patients respond slowly over more than 72-96 h even when they are treated with antibacterial drugs such as imipenem that are effective against the causative microorganism.

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