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Drugs Aging. 2000 Nov;17(5):339-51.

Fungal infections in patients with neutropenia: challenges in prophylaxis and treatment.

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Departement d'Hématologie et d'Oncologie, H pitaux Universitaires de Strasbourg, France.


Fungal infections are a leading cause of mortality in patients with neutropenia. Candidiasis and aspergillosis account for most invasive fungal infections. General prophylactic measures include strict hygiene and environmental measures. Haemopoietic growth factors shorten the duration of neutropenia and thus may reduce the incidence of fungal infections. Fluconazole is appropriate for antifungal prophylaxis and should be offered to patients with prolonged neutropenia, such as high-risk patients with leukaemia undergoing remission induction or consolidation therapy and high-risk stem cell transplant recipients. Empirical antifungal therapy is mandatory in patients with persistent febrile neutropenia who fail to respond to broad-spectrum antibacterials. Intravenous amphotericin B at a daily dose of 0.6 to 1 mg/kg is preferred whenever aspergillosis cannot be ruled out. Lipid formulations of amphotericin B have demonstrated similar efficacy and are much better tolerated. Fluconazole is the best choice for acute candidiasis in stable patients; amphotericin B should be used in patients with unstable disease. Use of fluconazole is restricted by the existence of resistant strains (Candida krusei and, to a lesser extent, C. glabrata). Amphotericin B still remains the gold standard for invasive aspergillosis. Lipid formulations of amphotericin B are effective in aspergillosis and because they are less nephrotoxic are indicated in patients with poor renal function. Itraconazole is an alternative in patients who have good intestinal function and are able to eat. Mucormycosis, trichosporonosis, fusariosis and cryptococcosis are less common but require specific management. New antifungal agents, especially new azoles, are under development. Their broad in vitro spectrum and preliminary clinical results are promising.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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