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Bone Marrow Transplant. 2000 Apr;25(8):853-9.

Fluconazole vs low-dose amphotericin B for the prevention of fungal infections in patients undergoing bone marrow transplantation: a study of the North American Marrow Transplant Group.

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Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37232-5505, USA.


Systemic fungal infections are a major problem in bone marrow transplant recipients who have prolonged neutropenia or who receive high-dose corticosteroids. Prophylaxis with Fluconazole or low-dose amphotericin B reduces, but does not eliminate these infections. To determine which prophylactic agent is better, we performed a prospective randomized study. Patients undergoing allogeneic (related or unrelated) or autologous marrow or peripheral stem cell transplantation were randomized to receive Fluconazole (400 mg/day p. o. or i.v.) or amphotericin B (0.2 mg/kg/day i.v.) beginning 1 day prior to stem cell transplantation and continuing until recovery of neutrophils to >500/microl. Patients were removed from their study drug for drug-associated toxicity, invasive fungal infection or suspected fungal infection (defined as the presence of fever >38 degrees C without positive culture while on broad-spectrum anti-bacterial antibiotics). Proven or suspected fungal infections were treated with high-dose amphotericin B (0.5-0.7 mg/kg/day). Patients were randomized at each institution and stratified for the type of transplant. The primary end-point of the study was prevention of documented fungal infection; secondary endpoints included fungal colonization, drug toxicity, duration of hospitalization, duration of fever, duration of neutropenia, duration and total dose of high-dose amphotericin B and overall survival to hospital discharge. From July 1992 to October 1994, a total of 355 patients entered into the trial with 159 patients randomized to amphotericin B and 196 to Fluconazole. Patient groups were comparable for diagnosis, age, sex, prior antibiotic or antifungal therapy, use of corticosteroids prior to transplantation and total duration of neutropenia. Amphotericin B was significantly more toxic than Fluconazole especially in related allogeneic transplantation where 19% of patients developed toxicity vs 0% of Fluconazole recipients (p < 0.05). Approximately 44% of all patients were removed from prophylaxis for presumed fungal infection. Proven fungal infections occurred in 4.1% and 7.5% of Fluconazole and amphotericin-treated patients, respectively. Proven fungal infections occurred in 9.1% and 14.3% of related allogeneic marrow recipients receiving Fluconazole or amphotericin B, respectively, and 2.1% and 5.6% of autologous marrow recipients receiving Fluconazole or amphotericin B, respectively (P > 0.05). In this prospective trial, low-dose amphotericin B prophylaxis was as effective as Fluconazole prophylaxis, but Fluconazole was significantly better tolerated.

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