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Clarithromycin As an Alternative and Prophylactic Agent in a Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation Patient

Katsushi Tajima, Shuhei Okuyama, Taichi Terada, Daisuke Akaneya, Ryuichiro Hori, Shuichi Abe, Tsuguo Honma, Riko Tsumanuma, Eijiro Omoto, Junko Ito, Tohru Gonoi

(Department of Hematology, Yamagata Prefectural Central Hospital, Yamagata, Japan)

Am J Case Rep 2021; 22:e931731

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.931731

BACKGROUND: Nocardia infections have rarely been reported in hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) patients, who usually receive the prophylactic use of sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim (ST) against Pneumocystis jiroveci. However, the ST prophylaxis, sensitive to Nocardia species, sometimes induces renal toxicities. Therefore, alternative prophylactic or therapeutic drugs are required for nocardiosis in HSCT patients.
CASE REPORT: A 34-year-old Japanese man with acute mixed phenotypic leukemia with t(9; 22) received allogenic peripheral blood HSCT from a haplo-identical sibling donor. He developed graft versus host disease (GVHD) with grade II, and was treated with prednisolone and cyclosporine A with concurrent ciprofloxacin, fluconazole, valacyclovir, and ST. However, the prophylactic ST was ceased because of its renal toxicity. He developed a pulmonary nodular lesion with elevated ß-D-glucan and Aspergillus galactomannan antigen. Repeated blood and sputum culture isolated no pathogens. Voriconazole treatment administered once improved these lesions and laboratory findings. One month later, he presented with right pleuritic chest pain and multiple ring-enhancing cavitation lesions along the ribs. A needle biopsy demonstrated Nocardia elegans, which is an extremely rare infection induced by Nocardia species, in the cavitation lesions, shown by 16S rRNA gene sequencing. He was started on doripenem and liposomal amphotericin B, and a subsequent treatment kept him free from Nocardia elegans infection, without any adverse effects, while continuing the cyclosporine A and prednisolone treatment for chronic GVHD.
CONCLUSIONS: Clarithromycin has fewer adverse effects than ST. This case suggests that clarithromycin is an appropriate alternative and prophylactic therapy for patients with nocardiosis and ST toxicities.

Keywords: clarithromycin, Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation, Nocardia elegans, Trimethoprim, Sulfamethoxazole Drug Combination

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