Pentamidine for Prophylaxis against Pneumocystis jirovecii Pneumonia in Pediatric Oncology Patients Receiving Immunosuppressive Chemotherapy

Melissa Quinn, J T Fannin, Joseph Sciasci, Allison Bragg, Patrick K Campbell, Delia Carias, Kristine R Crews, David Gregornik, Sima Jeha, Gabriela Maron, Jennifer L Pauley, Hope D Swanson, Joshua Wolf, William Greene
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 2018, 62 (8)
Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia is a life-threatening opportunistic infection in children receiving immunosuppressive chemotherapy. Without prophylaxis, up to 25% of pediatric oncology patients receiving chemotherapy will develop Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia. Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole is the preferred agent for prophylaxis against Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia. Pentamidine may be an acceptable alternative for pediatric patients unable to tolerate trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. A retrospective review was conducted of pediatric oncology patients who received ≥1 dose of pentamidine for Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia prophylaxis between January 2007 and August 2014. Electronic medical records were reviewed to determine the incidence of breakthrough Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia or discontinuation of pentamidine associated with adverse events. A total of 754 patients received pentamidine prophylaxis during the period. There were no cases of probable or proven Pneumocystis pneumonia, and 4 cases (0.5%) of possible Pneumocystis pneumonia. The incidence of possible breakthrough Pneumocystis pneumonia was not significantly different between subgroups based on age (<12 months [1.7%] versus ≥12 months [0.4%], P = 0.3), route of administration (aerosolized [0%] versus intravenous [1.0%], P = 0.2), or hematopoietic stem cell transplant status (transplant [0.4%] versus no transplant [0.8%], P = 0.6). Pentamidine was discontinued due to an adverse drug event in 23 children (3.1%), more frequently for aerosolized than for intravenous administration (7.6% versus 2.2%, respectively, P = 0.004). Intravenous or inhaled pentamidine may be a safe and effective second-line alternative for prophylaxis against Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia in children with cancer receiving immunosuppressive chemotherapy or hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.

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