, Volume 45, Issue 3 Supplement, pp 73-80
Date: 18 Nov 2012

Use of the Quinolones for the Prophylaxis and Therapy of Infections in Immunocompromised Hosts

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The prevention and treatment of infections are major issues of supportive care in patients with haematological malignancies. Because of their broad antimicrobial activity, the use of fluoro-quinolones for prophylaxis in neutropenic patients has been extensively studied. In comparison with placebo, norfloxacin reduces the incidence of Gram-negative infections, whereas Gram-positive bacterial and fungal infections remain unaffected. Ofloxacin and enoxacin also produce a reduction in fever and documented infections. In randomised studies comparing ciprofloxacin with cotrimoxazole (trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole) plus colistin (each in combination with nonabsorbable antifungal agents), conflicting results were obtained. The incidence of documented Gram-negative bacterial infections was markedly reduced by ciprofloxacin prophylaxis; however, the number of Gram-positive infections may increase dramatically. Combining ciprofloxacin with a macrolide antibiotic in an attempt to prevent streptococcal infections can result in breakthrough bacteraemias due to resistant Gram-positive pathogens.

Empirical antimicrobial therapy after quinolone prophylaxis should also be directed against microorganisms susceptible to quinolones, since sustained eradication by oral administration cannot be assumed with certainty.

Clinical trials comparing intravenous quinolones in combination with aminoglycosides with widely used standard regimens for the treatment of infections in cancer patients indicate equivalent efficacy; however, in studies of ciprofloxacin alone, response rates were significantly lower compared with standard combinations. Therefore, quinolone monotherapy as empirical treatment in febrile neutropenic patients cannot be recommended.