Self-administered antibiotic therapy for chemotherapy-induced, low-risk febrile neutropenia in patients with nonhematologic neoplasms

Document Type



Internal Medicine


A multicenter prospective nonrandomized trial was conducted to evaluate the efficacy of self-administered oral ofloxacin in the treatment of cancer patients with fever and neutropenia. Patients receiving chemotherapy who either resided far away and were unable to reach the oncology ward within 12 hours of the onset of fever or were unable to afford the expensive inpatient care were eligible for inclusion in the study. Requirements for enrollment included an absolute neutrophil count of < or = 0.5 x 10(9)/L, temperature of > 38 degrees C, and the ability to take oral medications. The patients were instructed to immediately self-administer oral ofloxacin on recognition of fever and to maintain daily telephonic contact with the oncology staff. One-hundred eleven such episodes were evaluable. Neutropenia was mostly of short duration (87% of episodes, < or = 1 week); 92 (83%) of the febrile episodes responded to ofloxacin with resolution of fever and neutropenia (hospitalization was not required). Two episodes resulted in death before the patients could be brought to the hospital; 17 (15%) did not respond to ofloxacin, and the patients required hospitalization. The conditions of all except one improved with parenteral combination antibiotic therapy. No toxicity was observed, and the cost of therapy was negligible. Treatment with oral ofloxacin may possibly serve as an alternative to hospitalization for those who are otherwise at low risk of morbidity and death.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Clinical Infectious Diseases