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Early Antibiotic Discontinuation or De-escalation in High-Risk Patients With AML With Febrile Neutropenia and Prolonged Neutropenia

William Alegria, Bernard L. Marini, Kevin Sellery Gregg, Dale Lee Bixby, Anthony Perissinotti, and Jerod Nagel

Background: There is minimal data evaluating the safety of antibiotic de-escalation in patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) with fever and ongoing neutropenia. Therefore, this study evaluated antibiotic prescribing, infection-related outcomes, and patient outcomes of an antibiotic de-escalation initiative. Patients and Methods: This pre–post quasiexperimental study included adult patients with AML hospitalized with febrile neutropenia. An antibiotic de-escalation guideline was implemented in January 2017, which promoted de-escalation or discontinuation of intravenous antipseudomonal β-lactams. The primary outcome assessment was the incidence of bacterial infection in a historical control group before guideline implementation compared with an intervention group after guideline implementation. Results: A total of 93 patients were included. Antibiotic de-escalation occurred more frequently in the intervention group (71.7% vs 7.5%; P<.001), which resulted in fewer days of therapy for intravenous antipseudomonal β-lactams (14 vs 25 days; P<.001). Thirty-day all-cause mortality and length of hospitalization were not different between groups. However, the intervention group had significantly fewer episodes of Clostridioides difficile colitis (5.7% vs 27.5%; P=.007). Conclusions: Implementation of an antibiotic de-escalation guideline resulted in decreased use of intravenous antipseudomonal β-lactams and fewer episodes of C difficile colitis, without adversely impacting patient outcomes. Additional studies are needed, preferably in the form of randomized controlled trials, to confirm these results.

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Clinical Availability of ATRA for Patients With Suspected Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia: Why Guidelines May Not Be Followed

Marcus J. Geer, Charles E. Foucar, Sumana Devata, Lydia Benitez, Anthony J. Perissinotti, Bernard L. Marini, and Dale Bixby

Background: All-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) serves as the backbone of the management of patients with acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL), with guidelines recommending the initiation of ATRA as soon as APL is suspected. As a regional referral center for patients with acute leukemia, those who are suspected of having APL are often transferred to our facility. However, many referring centers are unable to initiate treatment using ATRA. We conducted an exploratory analysis of the clinical availability of ATRA and the factors limiting access to this critical drug. Patients and Methods: The United States was divided into 6 geographic regions: Northwest, Southwest, Central, Southeast, Northeast, and the Great Lakes. Twenty hospitals were randomly selected from states within each of these regions and were surveyed as to whether they typically treated patients with acute leukemia, the availability of ATRA at their institution, and reported reasons for not stocking ATRA (if not available). Results: Less than one-third of hospitals queried (31%) had ATRA in stock. Neither the size of the hospital nor the hospital’s status as academic versus nonacademic (53% vs 31%; P=.08) influenced ATRA availability. Of the hospitals that referred patients with APL, only 14% (7/49) had ATRA readily available. Hospitals that treated patients with APL were more likely to have ATRA available than referring centers (58% vs 14%; P=.000002). Conclusions: Nearly two-thirds of the hospitals surveyed that cared for patients with acute leukemia do not have ATRA immediately available. Moreover, the vast majority of hospitals that refer patients to other centers do not have ATRA. These findings should spur investigation into the impact of immediate ATRA availability on the morbidity and mortality of patients with APL. A call by hematologists nationwide to their formulary committees is warranted to ensure that this lifesaving medication is available to patients suspected of having APL.