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Systemic fungal infection (SFI) is one of leading causes of morbidity and mortality in very low birth weight (VLBW) preterm infants. Because early diagnosis of SFI is challenging due to nonspecific manifestations, prophylaxis becomes crucial. This study aimed to assess effectiveness of oral nystatin as an antifungal prophylaxis to prevent SFI in VLBW preterm infants. A prospective, open-labelled, randomized controlled trial was performed in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) of an academic hospital in Indonesia. Infants with a gestational age ≤ 32 weeks and/or birth weight of ≤ 1500 g with risk factors for fungal infection were assessed for eligibility and randomized to either an intervention group (nystatin) or control group. The intervention group received 1 ml of oral nystatin three times a day, and the control group received a dose of 1 ml of sterile water three times a day. The incidence of fungal colonization and SFI were observed and evaluated during the six-week study period. Overall mortality rates and nystatin-related adverse drug reactions during the study period were also documented. A total of 95 patients were enrolled. The incidence of fungal colonization was lower among infants in nystatin group compared to those in control group (29.8 and 56.3%, respectively; relative risk 0.559; 95% confidence interval 0.357-0.899; p-value = 0.009). There were five cases of SFI, all of which were found in the control group (p-value = 0.056). There was no difference in overall mortality between the two groups. No adverse drug reactions were noted during the study period. Nystatin is effective and safe as an antifungal prophylactic medication in reducing colonization rates in the study population. Whilst the use of nystatin showed a potential protective effect against SFI among VLBW preterm infants, there was no statistical significant difference in SFI rates between groups. NCT03390374. Registered 4 January 2018 - Retrospectively registered.


Lily Rundjan, Retno Wahyuningsih, Chrissela Anindita Oeswadi, Miske Marsogi, Ayu Purnamasari. Oral nystatin prophylaxis to prevent systemic fungal infection in very low birth weight preterm infants: a randomized controlled trial. BMC pediatrics. 2020 Apr 17;20(1):170

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PMID: 32303210

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