Efficacy and safety of itraconazole prophylaxis for fungal infections after orthotopic liver transplantation: a prospective, randomized, double-blind study

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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 enrolment, 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.

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