Pharmacoeconomics of empirical antifungal use in febrile neutropenic hematological malignancy and hematopoietic stem cell transplant patients

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Invasive fungal infections incur considerable costs to healthcare and are associated with high mortality. These infections are increasing, due in part to more intensive immunosuppressive regimens with longer periods of neutropenia for patients treated for conditions such as cancer and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Therapeutic strategies in treating invasive fungal infections include the initiation of empiric antifungal therapy. This early treatment is triggered by fever that is unresponsive to 48–72 h of broad-spectrum antibiotic therapy in high-risk patients, prior to diagnosis. Several antifungal agents are available for this purpose. Informed decisions with respect to the choice of antifungal drug require clinicians to consider both efficacy data of a particular drug and the economic consequences of using the drug. This enables a treatment decision to be based not only on drug acquisition cost, but also expenses associated with hospitalization, monitoring and managing adverse effects to the treatment(s) chosen.

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