Rapid intravenous infusion of amphotericin B: a pilot study

Am J Med. 1992 Aug;93(2):123-30. doi: 10.1016/0002-9343(92)90040-i.


Purpose: The administration of amphotericin B in the conventional prolonged infusion over 4 to 6 hours is complicated by the acute toxicities of fevers and chills in 50% to 90% of patients and the chronic toxicities of increased creatinine levels and hypokalemia in 60% to 80% of patients. To determine the safety and toxicity of rapid infusions, we conducted a prospective, nonrandomized study in patients with clinical indications for antifungal therapy.

Patients and methods: Twenty-five granulocytopenic adults with acute leukemia and myelodysplastic syndromes were enrolled in a phase I trial using four sequentially shorter infusion durations: a standard infusion over 4 hours (n = 3) and shortened infusion durations at 3 hours (n = 3), 2 hours (n = 4), and 1 hour (n = 15). Toxicity was assessed by daily examinations of study subjects by one of the study investigators, by documentation of all infusion-related fevers and chills, and by daily monitoring of serum levels of creatinine, potassium, magnesium, and aspartate aminotransferase.

Results: Temperatures greater than 38 degrees C occurred in 16 of 25 (64%) patients, but only two had temperatures exceeding 40 degrees C. Chills were observed in 13 of 25 (56%) patients, but only one had severe symptoms. Serum creatinine increased more than 0.5 mg/dL (44.20 mumol/L) above the pretreatment baseline in 17 of 25 (68%) patients, and the absolute creatinine level was greater than or equal to 2.0 mg/dL (176.8 mumol/L) in 10 of 25 (40%) patients. Serum potassium levels dropped below the normal limit of 3.5 mEq/L (3.5 mmol/L) in all patients, but no patient had potassium levels below 2.5 mEq/L (2.5 mmol/L). Intravenous potassium supplementation was administered to all patients and exceeded 100 mEq/d in 12 of 25 (48%) patients.

Conclusions: Rapid infusions of amphotericin B are safe, are associated with similar toxicity as prolonged infusions, and facilitate inpatient care by decreasing nursing time needed for administration and minimizing scheduling conflicts with other necessary intravenous medications. Shorter infusions also facilitate outpatient and home administration of amphotericin B.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Amphotericin B / administration & dosage*
  • Amphotericin B / adverse effects*
  • Bone Marrow / drug effects
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury
  • Drug Evaluation
  • Female
  • Fever / chemically induced
  • Humans
  • Hypokalemia / chemically induced
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Kidney Diseases / chemically induced
  • Magnesium / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prospective Studies
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Amphotericin B
  • Magnesium