Background Invasive fungal infections are a major cause of morbidity and mortality in preterm infants. The authors conducted the first prospective, randomised controlled trial of nystatin compared with fluconazole for the prevention of fungal colonisation and invasive fungal infection in very low birth weight (VLBW) neonates.
Methods During a 12-month period, all VLBW neonates were assigned randomly to receive nystatin (1 ml suspension, 100 000 U/ml, every 8 h), fluconazole (3 mg/kg body weight, every third day) or placebo from birth until day 30 of life (day 45 for neonates weighing <1000 g at birth). The authors performed weekly surveillance cultures and systemic fungal susceptibility testing.
Results During the study period, 278 infants (fluconazole group, n=93; nystatin group, n=94; control group, n=91) weighing <1500 g at birth were admitted. There were no differences in birth weight, gestation, gender or risk factors for fungal infection among the groups. Fungal colonisation occurred in 11.7% of the nystatin group and 10.8% of the fluconazole group, as compared with 42.9% of the control group. The incidence of invasive fungal infection was 4.3% in the nystatin group and 3.2% in the fluconazole group, as compared with 16.5% in the control group. There were no differences in fungal colonisation and invasive fungal infection between the nystatin and fluconazole groups.
Conclusions Prophylactic nystatin and fluconazole reduce the incidence of colonisation and invasive fungal infection in VLBW neonates. The authors believe that nystatin is an alternative to fluconazole, because nystatin is safe, inexpensive, well tolerated and effective.
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Competing interests None.
Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the Zekai Tahir Burak Maternity Hospital Local Ethics Committee.
Patient consent Parental consent obtained.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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