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Volume 51, Number 4, August 2018

Meropenem versus piperacillin/tazobactam with or without immunoglobulin as second-line therapy for febrile neutropenia in pediatric patients 

Ryoji Kobayashi, Daiki Hori, Hirozumi Sano, Daisuke Suzuki, Kenji Kishimoto, Kunihiko Kobayashi


Background and purpose: 

Although survival of children with hematological diseases and cancer has increased dramatically, life-threatening complications due to bacterial infections occur in 5–10% of febrile episodes in pediatric cancer patients. A prospective randomized study was performed to clarify the usefulness of meropenem (MEPM) and piperacillin/tazobactam (PIPC/TAZ) with or without intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) as second-line therapy for pediatric patients with febrile neutropenia (FN). 



As first-line therapy for FN, 105 patients with 434 episodes were randomly assigned to receive MEPM or PIPC/TAZ. A total of 71 pediatric patients and 144 episodes were judged as failures and enrolled for second-line treatment. In second-line treatment, patients were randomized to a group of MEPM and PIPC/TAZ with or without IVIG. MEPM was given to patients who received PIPC/TAZ as first-line treatment, and PIPC/TAZ was given to patients who received MEPM as first-line treatment. 



The total success rate of second-line therapy was 49.3%. MEPM with or without IVIG was effective in 44.3% of cases, and PIPC/TAZ with or without IVIG was effective in 55.3%; this difference was not significant. The success rate in patients with serum IgG under 1000 mg/dl was 41.3% in the MEPM or PIPC/TAZ group and 64.3% in the MEPM + IVIG or PIPC/TAZ + IVIG group (p = 0.028). 



The present results suggest that PIPC/TAZ is as effective as MEPM and safe for second-line treatment of FN in pediatric patients. Furthermore, IVIG appears very effective for patients with low serum IgG levels. 


Key words:

Meropenem, Piperacillin/tazobactam, Immunoglobulin, Febrile neutropenia