A randomized trial comparing fluconazole with amphotericin B for the treatment of candidemia in patients without neutropenia. Candidemia Study Group and the National Institute

N Engl J Med. 1994 Nov 17;331(20):1325-30. doi: 10.1056/NEJM199411173312001.


Background: Amphotericin B has long been the standard treatment for candidemia, but its use is complicated by its toxicity. More recently, fluconazole, a water-soluble triazole with activity against candida species and little toxicity, has become available. We conducted a multicenter randomized trial that compared amphotericin B with fluconazole as treatment for candidemia.

Methods: To be eligible, patients had to have a positive blood culture for candida species, a neutrophil count > or = 500 per cubic millimeter, and no major immunodeficiency. Patients were randomly assigned to receive either amphotericin B (0.5 to 0.6 mg per kilogram of body weight per day) or fluconazole (400 mg per day), each continued for at least 14 days after the last positive blood culture. Outcomes were assessed by a group of investigators blinded to treatment assignment.

Results: Of the 237 patients enrolled, 206 met all entry criteria. The most common diagnoses were renal failure, nonhematologic cancer, and gastrointestinal disease. There was no statistically significant difference in outcome: of the 103 patients treated with amphotericin B, 81 (79 percent) were judged to have been treated successfully, as were 72 of the 103 patients treated with fluconazole (70 percent P = 0.22; 95 percent confidence interval for the difference, -5 to 23 percent). The bloodstream infection failed to clear in 12 patients in the amphotericin group and 15 in the fluconazole group; the species most commonly associated with failure was Candida albicans. There were 41 deaths in the amphotericin group and 34 deaths in the fluconazole group (P = 0.20). Intravascular catheters appeared to be the most frequent source of candidemia. There was less toxicity with fluconazole than with amphotericin B.

Conclusions: In patients without neutropenia and without major immunodeficiency, fluconazole and amphotericin B are not significantly different in their effectiveness in treating candidemia.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amphotericin B / adverse effects
  • Amphotericin B / therapeutic use*
  • Candidiasis / drug therapy*
  • Candidiasis / mortality
  • Catheters, Indwelling / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Fluconazole / adverse effects
  • Fluconazole / therapeutic use*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Fungemia / drug therapy*
  • Fungemia / microbiology
  • Fungemia / mortality
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neutropenia
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Amphotericin B
  • Fluconazole