, Volume 12, Issue 7, pp 517-525

Topical polyene antifungals in hematopoietic cell transplant patients: tolerability and efficacy

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Abstract

Purpose

The effectiveness of amphotericin B oral suspension versus nystatin oral suspension for the prevention of oral colonization by Candida in hematopoietic cell transplant (HCT) patients was examined.

Methods

Prior to hematopoietic cell infusion, 40 patients receiving systemic fluconazole for prophylaxis were randomized to receive either amphotericin B oral suspension or nystatin oral suspension, q.i.d. The study continued to day 21 or until the patient was discharge from the hospital or withdrawn from the study. Oral examinations were conducted twice weekly, and adverse events and compliance were recorded. Cultures were taken for quantitative counts and species identification. Candida isolates were assessed for resistance to the oral antifungal agents. Blood was collected for assessment of amphotericin B levels.

Results and discussion

Ulcerative mucositis occurred in 84.6% of patients undergoing HCT, and no correlation was observed between the severity of mucositis and the presence of oral Candida and the severity of mucositis. Systemic and topical antifungal treatment resulted in a decrease in the number of colonized patients (54.8% before treatment; 23.1% during treatment); however, oral colonization was not eliminated. Tolerability of the oral rinse products was limited, with greater noncompliance in the amphotericin B than the nystatin group. Reports of altered taste appeared to be greater in the amphotericin B group. Minimal absorption of amphotericin B was seen following oral rinsing (serum levels 0.12–0.50 μg/ml), and no consistent changes in organism susceptibility to polyenes were seen. The results suggest that topical antifungal rinses may further control oropharyngeal colonization by Candida in patients on systemic antifungals receiving HCT, but the effect is limited by tolerability and reformulation and should be considered in order to increase compliance.

Study supported by Bristol-Myers Squibb, Co., Hopewell, NJ, USA