Prophylactic systemic antifungal agents to prevent mortality and morbidity in very low birth weight infants

Cleminson, et al, Sept 2015 The Cochrane Library

Abstract

Background

Invasive fungal infection is an important cause of mortality and morbidity in very preterm and very low birth weight infants. Early diagnosis is difficult and treatment is often delayed. Systemically absorbed antifungal agents (usually azoles) are increasingly used as prophylaxis against invasive fungal infection in this population.

Authors’ conclusions

Prophylactic systemic antifungal therapy reduces the incidence of invasive fungal infection in very preterm or very low birth weight infants. This finding should be interpreted and applied cautiously since the incidence of invasive fungal infection was very high in the control groups of many of the included trials. Meta-analysis does not demonstrate a statistically significant effect on mortality. There are currently only limited data on the long-term neurodevelopmental consequences for infants exposed to this intervention. In addition, there is a need for further data on the effect of the intervention on the emergence of organisms with antifungal resistance.