Effectiveness and tolerability of intravenous pentamidine for Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia prophylaxis in adult hematopoietic stem cell transplant patients: a retrospective study

Wedad B Awad, Alaa Asaad, Nardin Al-Yasein, Rula Najjar
BMC Infectious Diseases 2020 June 5, 20 (1): 400

BACKGROUND: Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP) prophylaxis is recommended after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). In patients who are unable to take first-line prophylaxis, trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole, aerosolized pentamidine is recommended. This drug may not, however, be available at all institutions, and its administration requires special techniques. Therefore, intravenous pentamidine (IVP) has been used in adult patients as an alternative, despite limited data. We evaluated the effectiveness and tolerability of IVP for PCP prophylaxis in adult patients who had undergone HSCT.

METHODS: A single-center retrospective study was conducted of adult patients who had undergone allogenic or autologous HSCT between January 2014 and September 2018 and had received at least three doses of IVP for PCP prophylaxis. The IVP dose was 4 mg/kg administered monthly. Data on PCP infection and adverse reactions were collected from both patients' electronic medical records and the pharmacy adverse drug reactions documentation system. Patients were followed from the start of IVP up to 6 months after discontinuation of therapy. A confirmed PCP infection was defined as radiographic evidence of PCP and positive staining of a respiratory specimen. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the study outcomes.

RESULTS: During the study period, 187 patients were included. The median age was 36.4 years (range, 18-64), 58% were male, and 122 (65%) had received allogeneic HSCT while the remainder autologous HSCT. The median number of IVP doses administered per patient was 5 (range, 3-29). During the study period, none of the patients had evidence of confirmed PCP infection. However; there were two cases with high clinical suspicion of PCP infection (i.e. required anti-pneumocystis therapy) and one reported case of central nervous system toxoplasmosis while receiving IVP for PCP prophylaxis. Only one case of nausea associated with IVP administration was reported.

CONCLUSIONS: In a cohort of adult patients with HSCT who received IVP for PCP prophylaxis, there was no evidence of confirmed PCP infection, and the treatment appeared to be well tolerated. Prospective studies should be conducted to confirm the efficacy and tolerability of IVP.

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