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A Pilot Study of Antibiotic Cycling in a Hematology-Oncology Unit

  • Edward A. Dominguez (a1), Theresa L. Smith (a1), Elizabeth Reed (a2), Christine C. Sanders (a3) and W. Eugene Sanders (a3)...

To determine the safety and treatment efficacy of cycling antibiotic regimens for prophylaxis or treatment of patients with profound neutropenia.


A prospective, nonrandomized, observational trial.


A 20-bed adult hematology-oncology inpatient unit at a university referral hospital.


Hospitalized adult patients with chemotherapy-or radiation-induced neutropenia (absolute neutrophil count less than 500 cells/mm3).


Between July 1994 and January 1996, 295 hospitalized patients were evaluated on an intent-to-treat basis for the cycling protocol. Of these, 271 were eligible and assigned to one of four antibiotic regimens being used at the time of enrollment: (1) ceftazidime+vancomycin; (2) imipenem; (3) aztreonam+cefazolin; (4) ciprofloxacin+clindamycin. Data on infection rates and types, and antibiotic resistance patterns, toxicity, and effectiveness were collected.


Twenty-four patients were excluded. Of the 271 evaluable patients, 123 (42%) were able to complete treatment on the assigned regimen. Of the 148 patients (50%) unable to do so, the reasons for failure included persistent fever (79%), breakthrough bacteremia (14%), and drug toxicity (7%). The antibiotic susceptibility profiles over the study period showed no increase in resistance. However, there was a marked increase in enterococcal infections.


Our data show no significant increase in side effects or decrease in efficacy while cycling antibiotics among neutropenic patients and thus support further study of its role.

Corresponding author
985400 Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE 68198-5400
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Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology
  • ISSN: 0899-823X
  • EISSN: 1559-6834
  • URL: /core/journals/infection-control-and-hospital-epidemiology
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