Evidence Summaries There is no good evidence to compare oral amphotericin B with fluconazole for controlling fungal infections in neutropenic cancer patients. However, amphotericin B is the only antifungal agent for which there is evidence of decreased mortality.
A Cochrane review 1 included 17 trials involving a total of 3798 patients and 381 deaths. In two large three-armed trials results for amphotericin B were combined with results for nystatin in a "polyene" group. Because nystatin is an ineffective drug in these circumstances, this approach creates a bias in favour of fluconazole. Furthermore, most patients were randomised to oral amphotericin B, which is poorly absorbed and poorly documented. There were no significant differences in effect between fluconazole and amphotericin B, but the confidence intervals were wide.
Comment: The quality of evidence is downgraded by study quality (several methodological limitations), by inconsistency (heterogeneity in interventions), by imprecise results (wide confidence intervals), and by publication bias. The authors' conclude: Amphotericin B has been disfavoured in several of the trials through their design or analysis. Since intravenous amphotericin B is the only antifungal agent for which there is evidence suggesting an effect on mortality [Evidence Level: C] and is considerably cheaper than fluconazole, it should be preferred.
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"Amphotericin B Versus Fluconazole for Controlling Fungal Infections in Neutropenic Cancer Patients." Evidence-Based Medicine Guidelines, Duodecim Medical Publications Limited, 2019. Evidence Central, evidence.unboundmedicine.com/evidence/view/EBMG/451930/all/Amphotericin_B_versus_fluconazole_for_controlling_fungal_infections_in_neutropenic_cancer_patients.
Amphotericin B versus fluconazole for controlling fungal infections in neutropenic cancer patients. Evidence-Based Medicine Guidelines. Duodecim Medical Publications Limited; 2019. https://evidence.unboundmedicine.com/evidence/view/EBMG/451930/all/Amphotericin_B_versus_fluconazole_for_controlling_fungal_infections_in_neutropenic_cancer_patients. Accessed December 4, 2023.
Amphotericin B versus fluconazole for controlling fungal infections in neutropenic cancer patients. (2019). In Evidence-Based Medicine Guidelines. Duodecim Medical Publications Limited. https://evidence.unboundmedicine.com/evidence/view/EBMG/451930/all/Amphotericin_B_versus_fluconazole_for_controlling_fungal_infections_in_neutropenic_cancer_patients
Amphotericin B Versus Fluconazole for Controlling Fungal Infections in Neutropenic Cancer Patients [Internet]. In: Evidence-Based Medicine Guidelines. Duodecim Medical Publications Limited; 2019. [cited 2023 December 04]. Available from: https://evidence.unboundmedicine.com/evidence/view/EBMG/451930/all/Amphotericin_B_versus_fluconazole_for_controlling_fungal_infections_in_neutropenic_cancer_patients.
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