The cumulative experience with teicoplanin in treating febrile neutropenic patients included in three different comparative clinical trials conducted at a single institution during a 3-year period, is presented. 152 febrile episodes in 129 neutropenic patients were treated with i.v. teicoplanin (6 mg/kg/d) combined with amikacin (15 mg/kg/d) plus ceftazidime (90 mg/kg/d). The study population comprised 75 patients with acute leukaemia and 77 marrow recipients: 53% (81/152) had a central venous catheter in place and 68% (103/152) had severe neutropenia (less than 100/mm3) at the beginning of the febrile episode. The overall response rate of the evaluable febrile episodes was excellent: 88% (107/122) improved. Bacteraemias due to Gram-positive cocci accounted for 75% of the total (42/56) and pathogens in the blood isolates were mostly staphylococci (coagulase-negative 14, coagulase-positive 13) and streptococci (13). The response rate of Gram-positive bacteraemias was good: 88% (37/42) improved and 75% (9/12) of Gram-positive bacteraemias having teicoplanin as the only antibiotic with in vitro activity against the infective strains were cured. Death due to infection accounted for 7% of total febrile episodes (11/152). Side effects were documented in 14% of the episodes. In a setting of high prevalence of Gram-positive infections caused by strains with a high rate of resistance to aminoglycoside and beta-lactam antibiotics, there may be an advantage in including teicoplanin in the initial empiric antibiotic regimen for febrile neutropenic cancer patients.
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