Oral vs. Intravenous Antibiotics in Treatment of Paediatric Febrile Neutropenia — ASN Events

Oral vs. Intravenous Antibiotics in Treatment of Paediatric Febrile Neutropenia (#296)

Aditi Vedi 1 , Richard J Cohn 1 , Brent O'Carrigan 1
  1. Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick, NSW, Australia


To determine whether, in low-risk febrile neutropenic paediatric populations, oral antibiotics are as effective as intravenous antibiotics in obtaining resolution of the febrile neutropenic episode.


A comprehensive literature search of MEDLINE, EMBASE and CENTRAL identified prospective, randomised controlled trials comparing oral antibiotics to intravenous antibiotics in the treatment of febrile neutropenic episodes in low-risk paediatric oncology patients. Outcomes assessed were mortality, rate of treatment failure, length of the febrile neutropenic episode and adverse events. The random effects model was used to calculate risk ratios (RR) for dichotomous data and mean difference with standard deviation for continuous data.                                                                             


Seven trials were included in the overall analysis, which included 934 episodes of febrile neutropenia in 676 patients aged between 9 months and 20 years. The overall treatment failure rates were not significantly different between oral and intravenous antibiotics (RR: 1.02, 95% CI 0.78 to 1.32, p=0.91).

Table – Statistical Results

Outcome or Subgroup



Statistical Method

Effect Estimate

1.1 Treatment Failure



Risk Ratio (M-H, Random, 95% CI)

1.02 [0.78, 1.32]

1.2 Time to resolution of neutropenia



Mean Difference (IV, Random, 95% CI)

-1.14 [-2.14, -1.14]


In carefully selected low-risk febrile neutropenic children, empiric treatment with oral antibiotics is a safe and effective alternative to intravenous antibiotics, as they lower the cost of treatment, as well as psychosocial burden on these children and their families. 

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