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Ann Intern Med. 1994 May 15;120(10):834-44.

Ceftazidime compared with piperacillin and tobramycin for the empiric treatment of fever in neutropenic patients with cancer. A multicenter randomized trial. The Intercontinental Antimicrobial Study Group.

Author information

1
Division of Hematology, University Hospital St. Radboud, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To compare piperacillin and tobramycin with ceftazidime alone for the empiric treatment of fever in the neutropenic patient without evidence of skin infections or anaerobic infections.

DESIGN:

A multicenter, randomized, controlled trial.

PATIENTS:

876 febrile, neutropenic episodes in 696 patients (83% acute leukemia or bone marrow transplantation); 92 episodes were excluded from analysis because of protocol violation.

INTERVENTIONS:

Patients received either intravenous ceftazidime (2 g every 8 h) or piperacillin (12 to 18 g/d in 4 to 6 divided doses plus tobramycin (1.7 to 2.0 mg/kg body weight every 8 h). Treatment could be modified at any time at the discretion of the investigator.

MEASUREMENTS:

Percentage of satisfactory response, eradication of the infecting organism, development of superinfections, and occurrence of adverse events.

RESULTS:

As a single agent, ceftazidime was as effective as the combination of piperacillin and tobramycin (62.7% satisfactory responses compared with 61.1%; odds ratio, 1.07%; 95% Cl, 0.79 to 1.44; P > 0.2). Equivalent responses were also obtained in episodes of profound neutropenia (odds ratio, 0.76; Cl, 0.43 to 1.33; P > 0.2). Infectious mortality was 6% for ceftazidime and 8% for the combination therapy. Eradication of the infecting organisms was achieved in 79% of bacteremic episodes treated with ceftazidime compared with 68% of the episodes treated with the combination therapy (odds ratio, 1.76; Cl, 0.92 to 3.38; P = 0.08), and rates for gram-negative rod bacteremia were also similar (95% compared with 77%; odds ratio, 5.25; Cl, 1.0 to 27.5; P = 0.03). Superinfections developed in 38 episodes in each group. An adverse event occurred in 8% of episodes treated with ceftazidime compared with 20% of episodes treated with combination therapy (P < 0.001).

CONCLUSION:

Ceftazidime alone was as effective but safer than the combination of piperacillin and tobramycin for the empiric treatment of febrile, neutropenic patients, even those with profound and prolonged granulocytopenia.

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