Antifungal prophylaxis with itraconazole oral solution in neutropenic patients

Mycoses. 1999;42 Suppl 2:121-4.


The role of itraconazole in anti-fungal prophylaxis has been limited by the low bioavailability of the capsule formulation but the bioavailability of the oral solution is much improved. Three multi-centre studies using itraconazole solution (5 mg/kg/day) have recently been completed. The UK trial compared itraconazole solution with fluconazole suspension (100 mg/day). No invasive aspergillosis occurred in the itraconazole arm and there were more fungal deaths due to proven/suspected infection in the fluconazole group than in the itraconazole group (0 versus 7, p = 0.024). An Italian study compared itraconazole solution with placebo. Proven, suspected and superficial fungal infections were fewer in the itraconazole arm compared with placebo, with significant differences in proven and suspected systemic fungal infections (itraconazole 24% versus placebo 33%, p = 0.035). The third study compared itraconazole with amphotericin B capsules (2 g/day). There were more invasive fungal infections, Aspergillus infections and fungal deaths in the amphotericin B arm than with itraconazole but none of these differences were statistically significant. Azole prophylaxis in neutropenic patients may reduce the incidence of Candida infections, empirical amphotericin B usage, and the incidence of proven fungal infections. Itraconazole may be more effective than fluconazole in preventing invasive aspergillosis. All of these effects are more pronounced in high risk patients.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Amphotericin B / therapeutic use
  • Antifungal Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antifungal Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Humans
  • Itraconazole / administration & dosage
  • Itraconazole / therapeutic use*
  • Mycoses / complications*
  • Mycoses / prevention & control*
  • Neutropenia / complications*


  • Antifungal Agents
  • Itraconazole
  • Amphotericin B