AmBisome (2.5-7 mg/kg/day as a continuous 1 h infusion) was evaluated prospectively from September 1994 to January 1998 in 24 very low birth weight infants (mean birth weight 847+/-244 g, mean gestational age 26 weeks) with systemic candidiasis. Mean age at onset of candidemia was 17 days. One patient had two episodes of candidiasis. Thirteen infants failed previous antifungal therapy with amphotericin B (with or without 5-flucytosine). Candida spp. were isolated from the blood in all 25 episodes and from skin abscesses and urine in four infants each, respectively. There were 13 isolates of Candida albicans, ten of Candida parapsilosis, two of Candida tropicalis and one of Candida glabrata. One infant had a mixed infection with C. albicans and C. parapsilosis. The mean duration of therapy was 21 days; the cumulative AmBisome dose was 94 mg/kg. Fungal eradication was achieved in 92% of the episodes; mean duration of AmBisome therapy until achieving eradication was 9 days. Twenty (83%) infants were considered clinically cured at the end of treatment. No major adverse effects were recorded; one infant developed increased bilirubin and hepatic transaminases levels during therapy. Four (17%) infants died; in two of them (8%) the cause of death was directly attributed to systemic candidiasis.
Conclusion: AmBisome represents an effective, safe and convenient antifungal agent in the therapy of systemic fungal infections in very low birth weight infants.