Use of trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole to prevent bacterial infections in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia

A M Goorin, B J Hershey, M J Levin, G R Siber, R D Gelber, K Flynn, M Lew, K Beckett, P Blanding, S E Sallan
Pediatric Infectious Disease 1985, 4 (3): 265-9
We assessed the efficacy of prophylactic antibiotics in children receiving intensive chemotherapy for acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The patients were randomized to receive either trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMX) or placebo in a double-blind trial. Thirty patients were evaluated in each group. Children receiving TMP-SMX had fewer episodes of bacteremia (0 vs. 5) and otitis media (3 vs. 18). The geometric mean of the neutrophil nadir was 172 in the TMP-SMX group and 287 in controls. However, no increased delay or dose reduction of chemotherapy was observed in the TMP-SMX treated patients. Five patients who received TMP-SMX developed Gram-negative rods resistant to TMP-SMX on surveillance stool cultures. We conclude that TMP-SMX prophylaxis decreased certain bacterial infections in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia without causing clinically significant toxicity. The emergence of Gram-negative rods resistant to TMP-SMX in treated patients suggests that TMP-SMX prophylaxis should be restricted to patients who are at high risk for developing a bacterial infection or Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia.

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