Patients treated with cytotoxic therapy expected to produce neutropenia lasting two or more weeks were randomly assigned in a double-blind study to receive intravenous miconazole or placebo concomitant with empiric antibiotics to test whether miconazole can prevent fungal sepsis. The study drug was initiated at the time of first fever along with antibiotics and was continued until neutropenia resolved, fungal sepsis occurred, or persistent or recurrent unexplained fever after six or more days prompted substitution of the study drug by amphotericin B. Two hundred eight treatment courses in 180 patients were evaluated. Fungal sepsis occurred in only one patient receiving miconazole compared with eight patients receiving placebo (p = 0.03). Fatal fungal sepsis occurred in four patients receiving placebo and in none of the patients receiving miconazole (p = 0.08). There was no evidence for the development of resistance to polyenes or imidazoles in fungal isolates recovered from patients in this randomized trial or an increase in Aspergillus infections in patients who received miconazole in this randomized trial or in 121 subsequently treated patients who received unblinded use of miconazole. Thus, intravenous miconazole was more effective than placebo in preventing fungal sepsis in patients with chemotherapy-induced prolonged neutropenia.
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