RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL
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Cefepime versus ceftazidime + amikacin as empirical therapy for febrile neutropenia in children with cancer: a prospective randomized trial of the treatment efficacy and cost.

The efficacy, safety, and cost of cefepime and ceftazidime + amikacin as empirical therapy in children with febrile neutropenia is compared. A prospective randomized study in children with cancer was conducted. Patients were randomly assigned to receive either cefepime 150 mg/kg/day or ceftazidime 150 mg/kg/day combined with amikacin 15 mg/kg/day. Treatment modification was defined as all the changes in the empirical antimicrobials after the first 72 h. Overall treatment success was defined as cure of febrile episode with or without modification. Costs of hospitalization, antimicrobial drugs, and supportive therapy were calculated. Fifty febrile netropenic episodes were evaluated. Infectious agents were microbiologically identified in 28% of episodes. The incidence of gram-negative and gram-positive isolates was equal. Overall treatment success was 100% and success of initial empirical therapy without modification was 52 and 40% in the cefepime and cefepime + amikacin groups, respectively. The response rate after glycopeptides were added to the regimen was 64 and 52 % in the cefepime and cefepime + amikacin arms, respectively. Glycopeptide and antifungal drugs were added more frequently in the ceftazidime + amikacin group. Duration of fever, hospitalization, and antimicrobial drug administration were longer in the ceftazidime + amikacin arm. The costs of the antimicrobial drugs, hospitalization, and total cost were lower in the cefepime arm. Cefepime monotherapy is as effective as ceftazidime + amikacin combination in febrile neutropenia of pediatric cancer patients and must be preferred due to shorter defervescence of fever, shorter hospitalization, and lower therapy cost.

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