Background: There is significant morbidity and mortality related to fungal infections in the solid-organ transplant population.
Methods: A prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, restricted sequential design trial was performed in 71 adults undergoing orthotopic liver transplantation. Patients were randomly assigned to receive either itraconazole (5.0 mg/kg orally, preoperatively, 2.5 mg/kg orally, two times a day, postoperatively) or placebo. Therapy continued for a maximum of 56 days or until patient was discharged from hospital or met a predefined endpoint. Measurements included incidence of fungal colonization, superficial or systemic fungal infections requiring systemic therapy, adverse events, and mortality rate.
Results: This trial design supported the superiority of itraconazole in preventing fungal infections; nine patients in the placebo group (24%; 95% confidence interval, 0.118-0.412) and one patient in the itraconazole group (4%; 95% confidence interval, 0.001-0.204) developed fungal endpoints requiring therapy with amphotericin B (P=0.04, Fisher's exact test). At the time of enrollment, fungal colonization occurred in 40% and 37% of itraconazole and placebo patients (P=0.43), respectively. Adverse events were reported by 97% and 100% of the intraconazole and placebo groups, respectively, and one itraconazole and six placebo-group patients died within the study period. There was no relation to trial medication for serious adverse events.
Conclusion: Prophylaxis with itraconazole reduces fungal infections in patients undergoing orthotopic liver transplantation and is well tolerated.