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Oral administration of cefixime to lower risk febrile neutropenic children with cancer.

Author(s): Paganini HR, Sarkis CM, De Martino MG, Zubizarreta PA, Casimir L, Fernandez C, Armada AA, Rodriguez-Brieshcke MT, Debbag R

Affiliation(s): Department of Epidemiology and Infectious Diseases, Hospital de Pediatria Prof. Dr. Juan P. Garrahan, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Publication date & source: 2000-06-15, Cancer., 88(12):2848-52.

Publication type: Clinical Trial; Randomized Controlled Trial

BACKGROUND: Febrile neutropenia is a heterogeneous condition. Recently, several risk factors have been defined, permitting the definition of a lower risk group of patients who may benefit form less aggressive therapy. The use of an oral antibiotic approach was tested in the current trial. METHODS: From May 1997 to March 1998, 154 episodes of lower risk febrile neutropenia in 128 children with a mean age of 62 (range, 8-200) months were enrolled in this randomized, single-institution trial. Inclusion criteria were fever (> 38 degrees C), neutropenia (absolute neutrophil count < 500/mm(3)), lower risk features (i.e., absence of severe comorbidity factors, good clinical condition, negative blood cultures, control of local infection, no fever during the last 24 hours), and compliance of parents. After 3 days of ceftriaxone (100 mg/kg/day administered intravenously [i.v.]) every 12 hours plus amikacin (15 mg/kg/day i.v.) every 24 hours for 3 days, all patients were discharged and randomized to be allocated to 2 treatment arms. Group A (n = 74) received ceftriaxone cefixime (8 mg/kg/day administered orally) every 24 hours for 4 days, whereas Group B (n = 80) was treated with ceftriaxone plus amikacin for 7 days. Failure was defined as the need for second hospitalization during the same episode of neutropenia, or fever during the 7 days after discharge. RESULTS: Most of the patients (49% in Group A and 55% in Group B) had acute leukemia. Fifty-four (72%) children in Group A and 46 (56%) in Group B had fever of unknown origin (P = not significant [NS]). No significant differences were found in the sites of initial infection between the two groups. Overall results were outstanding, with a favorable outcome in 73 of 78 cases (98.6%) in Group A and 78 of 80 cases (97.5%) in Group B (P = NS). Three patients needed a second hospitalization due to failure of the initial therapy: one in Group A and two in Group B. All three did well with secondary treatment. CONCLUSIONS: In lower risk febrile neutropenic children receiving anticancer therapy, the efficacy of oral cefixime, given for 4 days after 72 hours of intravenous ceftriaxone plus amikacin, was similar to that of 7 days of parenteral ceftriaxone plus amikacin. The oral outpatient therapy approach to the treatment of lower risk febrile neutropenia after chemotherapy is safe and may be cost-saving. This strategy might be adopted as standard therapy in the future. Copyright 2000 American Cancer Society.

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