New Trends in Patient Management: Risk-Based Therapy for Febrile Patients with Neutropenia

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Standard management of febrile neutropenia includes the prompt administration of empirical, broad-spectrum, parenteral antibiotic therapy. This is generally done in a hospital-based setting. Although effective (overall survival of >90%), such therapy leads to prolonged hospitalization, excessive resource utilization, and increased costs. Recently, risk-assessment models have been developed that reliably differentiate febrile patients with neutropenia that are at low risk for morbidity and/or mortality. This has enabled clinicians to administer risk-based treatment to such patients. High-risk patients still receive standard, hospital-based, parenteral treatment. Many patients, however, defervesce promptly and can be discharged home with parenteral or oral antibiotics. Low-risk patients need not be hospitalized at all and can be safely treated with parenteral or oral antibiotics in the outpatient or home setting. Careful risk assessment and patient selection, appropriate antimicrobial regimen(s), and meticulous monitoring for response or the development of complications or toxicity are essential for the success of risk-based therapy.

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